A couple months ago I did a review of MB Vanilla Flake. It is now among my favorite aromatics. Well, my stock is just about out so last week I stopped at a local B&M and they didn't have any, but they did have the Vanilla Cream- Loose Cut. Knowing they are the same blend and being just about out on the one hand, and knowing that with the different preparation a lot of people get something different from each and being curious about the differences, I decided to pick it up. I don't remember which pipe I used for my first smoke of this last week, but I am currently smoking it out of my MM Legend (note: I don't usually smoke aros out of my cobs, and I'm not sure why because they really seem to work well together).
In the Tin: Much like the flake, it has a nice sweet vanilla smell to it, but I also detect something fruity, maybe almost lemony, or a sweetened lemon-lime. While the flake was a dark brown with some lighter specks, and this is the same dark and light brown, the light brown tobacco seems more prevalent and lighter colored in the loose cut.
Smoking characteristics: While this is definitely a wet tobacco, it lights very easily and tends to stay lit pretty well. I can be a little overly exuberant when smoking my pipes, and it seems to be pretty resistant to tongue bite. It produces nice volumes of creamy, blue-white smoke. It tastes and smells of nice rich vanilla and burns down to a nice white ash.
Smell: I'm smoking in my bedroom and while it definitely smells of tobacco, it has a nice vanilla smell to it as well. The fruit in the tin does not make an appearance when smoking.
Comparison to MB Vanilla Flake: These are the same tobacco with different presentations so, not surprisingly, they are very similar. However, there are differences. With the flake, the Cavendish is pretty noticeable to me with its characteristic creamy nutty flavor. The Loose Cut is very creamy, but I don't get any nut flavors or smells. I also don't seem to get as much of the natural Virginia sweetness in this as I do with the flake, the sweetness seems more from the vanilla here. On the topic of vanilla, the vanilla in the flake is a bit more subtle, here it is front and center, definitely stronger.
Overall verdict: I love vanilla, vanilla cream pastries, vanilla ice cream, I sometimes put vanilla in my chili, etc. so no shock, I love MB Vanilla Flake and Vanilla Cream Loose Cut. Strangely, these were my first vanilla aromatics (though I had already had, and love, SG Perfection which is an English with added vanilla). I am definitely motivated by these two to try more vanilla aros.
I couldn't really tell you if I like the Flake or Loose Cut better. They are, obviously, very similar, but they are subtly different. I just bought this 3.5oz tin of the Loose Cut, and I can tell you I will buy more in the future, but I also just put in an order for 16oz of the Flake. That will probably be my usual proportion in fact, I'll probably regularly keep on hand a tin of the Loose Cut, but a pound of the Flake. Of course, that is partially economics however, and if the Loose Cut was available bulk and the Flake only in tins the proportions might very well be reversed.