Some observations on Alden shoe colors, after some time as an addict and nephew:
(1) Color 8 is King. Abundant or not, it's the best color, and it's not even close.
(2) Black shell is underrated. You will only understand this after wearing it a few times.
(3) No one would ever buy Color 4 if it were readily available. Its unicorn status is the only reason it's coveted.
(4) Whiskey, though "rare," is the least versatile color, except for Wednesdays of course.
(5) Old cigar is a great color, with olive tones and real depth. New cigar might as well be relabeled Color 8.
(6) Ravello is solid color, though not as versatile as Cigar. And if you can't find it, AE brown shell is a fairly close proxy.
1) Agreed 100%
2) Agreed 100%. I'd probably choose black over all of the rare colors (with the possible exception of cigar)
3) Color 4 is indeed overrated. The color looks too inconsistent from shoe to shoe to me. I've seen some cool models (color 4 chukkas, both of MrDV's boots), but the obsession is unwarranted IMO
4) Agreed 100%
5) I dunno, I have a lot of shades of cigar and like em all.
6) Generally true. Ravello can be a bit too "red" sometimes to be versatile. That said I'd like to see more ravello available.
I would add a few more
1) Sometimes basic is better. Not every shoe needs an antique sole, brass eyelets, etc. As sevenfoldtie often says, Alden's best models are often its stock models in black and color 8.
2) Don't overlook suede and chromexcel.
And I will reiterate it again here - without equivocation.
There is much truth spoken above by the two gentlemen.