After nearly three years, José Blanco is leaving EPC Cigar Co. Blanco was hired as senior vice president of EPC Cigar in the fall of 2016, and his last day with the company will be August 31.
EPC is the maker of the E.P. Carrillo Encore Majestic, Cigar Aficionado’s No. 1 cigar of the year. The company is run by Ernesto Perez-Carrillo with its La Alianza factory located in the Dominican Republic.
Both Blanco, 69, and Perez-Carrillo told Cigar Aficionado that the departure was an amicable one. “Ernesto and I have been friends for over 25 years,” Blanco said. “I admire him greatly.” He said he joined the company with goals in mind, and that those goals had been met.
EPC had kind words for Blanco. “Over José’s tenure, he has assisted in the growth and brand building of our company along with doing well over 150 events and blending seminars around the globe,” the company said in a statement. “His dedication to the brand and friendship to the family will be greatly missed. All of us at Carrillo Cigars look forward to the next great things to come from José and his future journeys.”
Blanco has a long history in the cigar business. He joined Grupo León Jimenes, the former parent company of La Aurora, in 1981 as a salesman for the company’s Presidente Beer and Marlboro cigarettes. In 1999, he moved to the company’s cigar division in the Dominican Republic, and became sales director of La Aurora. After 12 years with La Aurora, Blanco joined Joya de Nicaragua, where he helped create a cigar brand called CyB, and spent three years there before forming his own cigar company, Las Cumbres Tabaco, in 2014.
Blanco, 69, said he intended to continue working in the cigar industry.