Thiel laterite (again)

I've been helping a guy at work design a nice plant tank.  He's been
gathering materials for a while.  Today he brought in a jar of Thiel
Aquatech laterite for me to see how it looked compared to Dupla.  I'd
never seen TAT laterite before but have used Dupla's.

When I opend the jar I was expecting a dark red clay powder but found
a brown colored sand-sized material instead.  The main thing I
noticed, though, was the strong humus smell.  It sure didn't look or
smell like any laterite I've seen before; it seemed to be more sand
soaked in peatmoss extract.  My co-worker is concerned it's not "real"
laterite and possibly not effective.

I rummaged through the archives of this list with Thiel as the search
word and have found a few people who have used it (and Dupla) and
reported good results with both.  But I guess my questions are:

1) Is the TAT stuff really laterite (leached Fe/Mn/Al clay)?

2) Does it matter so long as you get good results?

3) Do the results last as long as Dupla?

Keith Rogers
krogers at es_com

P.S. Get your votes in on the rec.aquaria re-org.