The torch does add char flavor, period. I never went for deep char, but it does add the char flavor, and NO other chemical or fuel-oriented flavors—honestly (and I am a certified super taster). I can definitely taste the differences between my torched pies (less so with my LBE pies) and those of UPN, A16, Antica Pizzeria and others, but most of my family and friends honestly cannot. And a few of them I really, really trust too. So I guess I would call the differences, according to most laymen, subtle
, and more than cosmetic, though the cosmetic aspect was important to me, absolutely.
SO... if you're in the situation I was in, where you have no deck for an outside pizza rig, and are living in a compromised apartment with NO large oven, and/or finding it hard to cook in an oven that gets to 475F at best (as my DeLonghi coutertop oven did at the time), I really do recommend the torch if you're dead set on getting some char. It's cheating a little bit I guess, but in the end it's all about the flavor in your mouth, right? And if you're hooked on char, it can be the only way to achieve char in some situations (like I was in). In the end the torch is just another tool in a creative cooks arsenal. I do like being free of the torch now with my LBE, and feeling like I am no longer "cheating"...
Below is a picture of one my typical pies on my 750F Deni stone with Caputo Pizzeria. Decent spring, good flavor (a tad chewy), but pale. When torched after a 2:30 or so bake, these pies would spring a little tiny bit more under the torch and the char would definitely get added.