I don't get why most people prefer shell cordovan, I don't like the shine and I think they look too purplish. I definitely like the 2nd a lot more.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
This post reminded me of a 'conversation' my wife and I had a few days ago. I came home from work the other day to a pleasant early delivery surprise from TSM. The box was in the study which is where my closet and shoes reside. On the desk was 4 pair of color 8 shoes and my wife dared me to explain how any one was different from the other 3......
Even she conceded the obvious difference in the Epalaut Alt Weins, but she felt pretty confident that there were no differences in the other 3. Of course, it was a conversation that I welcomed as the differences to me were so obvious. The basketball equivalent of a layup.
The reason this post reminded me of the conversation is that of the four, the jcrew's on plantation are chunkier than the others and I would prefer that they were a little sleeker. However they are easily my most worn of the 4 precisely because of the purplish hue that you mention. I love that deep deep purple-ish patina they have developed. It really is a matter of taste and preference.
Kind of a long-winded way of saying don't try to figure out why others prefer one over the other. Buy what you like and if you're purchasing Alden's, it is highly unlikely that those you interact with on a daily basis will be anything but impressed.