Eddie Ortega, the man behind such boutique cigars as 601, Cubao and Murcielago, has stepped down as president of EOBrands Inc. and left his partnership with Eric Espinosa in order to strike out on his own.
Ortega told Cigar Aficionado that he will be leaving EO and starting Ortega Cigars, a small company headquartered in Sunrise, Florida.
“I’ve wanted to do this for quite some time and now is the right time,” Ortega said. “Eric [Espinosa] is like my brother, but I wanted to be independent.”
Ortega’s new debut brand is called Ortega Serie D, a five-size series made in Nicaragua at My Father Cigars S.A. The cigar is made from a blend of Mexican maduro wrapper and Nicaraguan binder and filler, and will retail in the $6.20 to $7.80 range.
“I have no interest in the so called limited-release market— plenty of those around. I’d much rather build solid brands. And I’m not looking to be the next big thing,” Ortega said. “I just want to open 300 accounts and that’s it. This way, they can support me, and I can support them.”
Ortega Serie D is scheduled to be released in March.
The cigars from EOBrands are distributed by Rocky Patel, who owns 50 percent of the company. Patel confirmed that Ortega is leaving. The other 50 percent ownership was split between Ortega and Espinosa who are now finalizing the details of a buyout deal.