Doubt it’s your olfactory, were they using a similar atomizer??
A mesh is extremely different from cotton, different atomizers, different results, why do you think shelf liquids are so loaded with sucralose and high percentages? To cover all ranges possible.
The other things are: airflow, coil surface, heat, generally an MTL atomizer has a small airflow (1,2-1,8mm holes typical) with a contact or small spaced coil around .8-1Ohm with a power range from 12 to 25W and small drip tips,small chamber, a DTL has wide airflows, with dual coils, or big complex single coils, subohm and power from 25W and above with large driptips and large chambers.
Still grenerally speaking, a wide spaced coil has more surface, a dual coil even more,with this setup you need high power, more surface, more power, more liquid being vaped therefore hypothetically more flavour, but a concentrated drip concentrates the vapour, a wide tip draws more air, making it “Fattier”.
Different setups, different outcomes, with MTL you might appreciate some fine tobaccos and nuances, with wide drip tips creams and bakery
It’s one of the things that we DIY for, we tailor our liquids to our setup/personal taste, it’s always a good thing when we publish our recipes, to tell people our setups, it will help them understand better.