Rancourt's "Caramel" color looks reasonably close to whiskey:
Do you think I'd be happy with this as an alternative to whiskey? Or is this just not the same as the exotic colors of ancient lore?
Trust me when I say these words: There is Life outside of Alden exotics...
I own/have owned some of the more rare Alden cordovan models, and I enjoy and cherish them. (As you know)
However, there is a whole wide world of artisans and craftsmen all over the world who often rival and sometimes surpass Alden.
There is good reason why many of the gentlemen here on SF have ventured outside of Aldenland and found great satisfaction.
Again, nothing against Alden at all. I am a dyed in the wool AldenFan.
Nevertheless, EVERY maker has strengths and weaknesses and we ought to strive to appreciate each maker for who and what they are.
I don't like the balance of the LWB patterns from Carmina and EB. The C&J pattern is better, but still not as nice as the Alden pattern. AE's MacNeil pattern is terrible, but they improved it somewhat with the MacNeil 2.0.
Florsheim's LWB is the granddaddy, and it's the best. Alden's is most similar to it, IMO.
I think it comes down to personal preference, I personally find the Alden LWB clownish even in D width. Few months back I got my hands on fabled Alden whiskey LWB( seconds from shoemart) but didn't like them at all compared to my Macneil and returned those..
Though I really like the NST pattern from Alden, it's better than what a lot of other makers do...