Really? I'm on a J Gilbert pre-order from Feb 2012! No word on a production date yet.
I have a GC Thomas monk in 7.5D UK. I wear 8 C Barrie and 8.5C Aberdeen. Brannock is 8.5C. In terms of length, the UK 7.5 is almost the same, if not a tad longer than US 8.5. But the UK D narrow I think tends to be more voluminous than what I'm used to in US C. But this may be because the Thomas is a monk and my Aldens are all lace-ups. I just wear slightly thicker socks with the Thomas (not the outdoor ones).
Will from LS gives out good advise. I was in the same boat about not knowing whether to risk buying a pair without the return option. I'm glad I did.
I'll say this, for what it is worth: the person with whom I spoke at the ShoeMart was especially confident that the order was forthcoming from Alden, after she checked with the boss/proprietor at ShoeMart. I am a bit skeptical that there are pre-orders that have been open for the alleged 3+ years. If there are, I would attribute such a situation to a retailer waiting to submit their order to Alden for production--perhaps because they have failed to meet minimum order requirements, or to create buzz/anticipation.
I sincerely believe the rarity of Whiskey, Ravello, and Cigar, not to mention color #4 shell, to be overblown on this thread and in the general marketplace. When I have stopped by the Alden Shop in DC, they always have a selection of Whiskey and Cigar in a few different models.