"a good blend or a serious lat bomb?"
Not sure that these need to be mutually exclusive!
I will say that, like Jud, I'm particularly sensitive to nicotine. . . and Nightcap is too "rich" for me, due to the perique. But I can understand why so many enjoy it.
fnord was kind enough to send me a tin of his Nightcap supply last year, and I fell in love with the blend.
The Latakia component and Perique components really serve as condiments here, and the sweetness of the Virginias develop nicely through the bowl. I like this blend most with a little age on it. It doesn't need decades, but a little maturity seems, to me, to make the flavours a little more homogeneous.
It was my first Latakia experience as well, and now English blends are about all I smoke, save the rare VA or aromatic. Nightcap still easily ranks as my favorite blend, and I'm pretty excited that it's finally available in bulk like 965 has been.
I have some left over nightcap from about a year ago. At that time, I felt it to be nic strong and a very full Latakia strength, a little too much for me.
I'm going to try some today, after finding this past year a real love for the 'English' blends.
I see a lot about Nightcap's nic and Lat content, but that's precisely why it's my quintessential English. For me, Lat comes forward no matter how much of it is in there, and with it the promise of a full-bodied smoke, so if there is little or no nic, it feels like the promise was broken. I loved Sutliffe's Bosphorus Cruise at first but after Nightcap it's like smoking air.
I just tried it recently and I find it's a great balanced english. It's not a lat bomb, I don't find the nicotine content very high, but apparently it's changed in the last few years and isn't as strong as before. It does burn for a good while whereas I find EMP to be a really quick smoke, but I figure this is why it's early morning pipe and nightcap is the relaxing take your time smoke.