Cigar Review: Platinum Nova Cigars Leo 12 – Rated 93

Introduced at the 2022 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show in Ls Vegas, NV; the Platinum Nova Cigars LEO 12 is a celebration of the company’s CEO – Leonor (Leo) Abzaradel‘s – 12 years in the premium cigar business. Like its predecessors, the Leo X and Leo 11, it is a Limitada, this time expressed in a (6 1/4 x 56) Toro Extra.

The blend is described as:

  • Wrapper: Habano Ecuador
  • Binder: Dominican
  • Filler: Dominican

Packaged in 12 count boxes, the Leo 12 has an MSRP of $20.40 and can be purchased directly from the company on their website here.

Earlier this year I had the privilege of visiting Leo at her South Florida distribution warehouse where I spent time discussing her journey in the industry and smoking some of her finest crafts, including the Leo 12.

Pre-Light Examination

Having smoked 3 of Leo 12’s I was always impressed with the look and feel of this cigar. It has a caramel brown wrapper that exhibits a fine sheen, is lightly marbled and has minimal veins. Smooth to the touch, the Leo 12 is packed solid from head to foot with just the right give. The roll has all but invisible seams. A well applied cap finishes the construction.

Two bands adorn the Leo 12. The primary band uses the company’s standard logo while the secondary band identifies it as the Leo 12.

Running the Leo 12 across the nose, I picked up an inviting baking spice along along the barrel while the the foot offered enticing pre-light notes of chocolate, nut, and pepper,

Using my CigarMedics Baller cutter, I opened the cap perfectly and proceeded to give it a few cold draw puffs. My palate was greeted with notes of black pepper with a sprinkle of saltiness and touch of butter.

I used my double flame torch to warm the foot to an even orange glow and drew in the first puffs of gentle peppery smoke both on the palate and the retro-hale. Follow along as I burn this one to ash.

Cigar Review Notes

  • Initial light graces the palate with a light pepper note
  • Mild butter cracker aroma
  • Tangy notes join the mix with a light butter in the background 
  • White ash forms on a thick wavy char line
  • Caramel sweetness adds to the pleasure
  • Aroma gets a tad sweeter after an inch plus of burn
  • Floral notes develop along with a honey nectar smoothing out the profile
  • Ash fell revealing a slightly off centered burn cone
  • Cedar notes join the mix midway
  • Aroma shifts to more of a roasted nut
  • Cedar begins to take center stage deep in the second third
  • Spice notes develop and take you down through the final
  • Medium in Strength
  • Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 40 minutes

Final Analysis

The Leo 12 was a pleasant smoking experience that is representative of Leonor Abzaradel‘s 12 years in the premium cigar industry. This is one of those cigars that pleased the palate and the nose throughout the burn with shifting and developing flavor and aroma. I especially enjoyed the floral and honey notes early in the burn and the developing cedar that evolved through the second second half. The roasted nut aroma offered additional sensory pleasure. It did have a slightly jagged burn but never needed a touch-up and the it exhibited a slightly off-centered burn cone on the first solid “stacking dimes” ash drop. Grab a fiver of these. I rate this a 93.

Point Deductions: (-1) Jagged Burn; (-1) Off-Centered Burn Cone

Bonus Points: (+1) Extremely Complex yet Balanced

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