I have always used craft felt for alcohol ink. I take a small baby alphabet block and put sticky back velcro on 4 sides then I cut the craft store felt into squares and place it on the velcro and ink away. It works great! I've never tried the TH applicators, they are probably wool and better quality (they should be for the price!) but I'm happy with my homemade applicator!
Also I use make-up wedges to apply ink from my SU! dye pads and I get the same look as the distress ink with TH foam applicator except if you were to spray water on it it would not give the same spotty effect but for rouging the edges of a tag it works like a dream