Jose and Margarita Montagne of Guantanamera Cigars continue to thrive and grow the family legacy on the world-famous Calle Ocho for 24 plus years
Guantanamera Cigars on Calle Ocho is a family business with a history that goes back 130 years to the French great grandfather of current owner Jose L. Montagne. Jose’s great grandfather whose name was Francois Montagne moved from Haiti before they settled in Cuba. The family settled in Las Villas where he began selling tobacco and coffee. In 1959 the family business was taken away with the nationalization brought upon by the Castro regime like many business people they found themselves in very precarious situations.
At the age of 26, Jose began to travel and move around to places such as Spain, then Buenos Aires and lastly immigrated back to the United States. Once here in Miami, Florida, he met his wife of 20 years, Margarita Montagne. Jose and Margarita decided to continue the family business and open Guantanamera Cigars.
Guantanamera Cigars is most known for the Cigars they have carried since they first opened at their location in Miami Beach in 1997. They have carried their most famous “Guantanamera Series”, “Series Duo”, “310 Series” and lastly their “Gold Series”. Without being a cigar aficionado myself, I can say that their “310 Series Robusto” is made in very limited quantities and available at only exclusive tobacconists worldwide.
Guantanamera Coffee, Rum, and Beer
As they have continued to grow and evolve the Guantanamera brand, they took a giant leap a while back and launched a website that distributes nationally simultaneously launching their Cuban Coffee brand. Most recently they began adding merchandise to their brand and began selling more of the things that best compliment the Guantanamera Cigars and Coffee like Guantanamera Rum and Beer.
Besides Guantanamera Cigars they also currently distribute their own "Guantanamera Coffee," "Guantanamera Rum," and the most recent addition is the new "Guantanamera Beer" from their website and storefront.
“Guantanamera Cigars” is a hot spot-on Calle Ocho, but don’t take our word for it. If you need a little escape from the daily, step into the Calle Ocho world for a bit and kick back with a "310 Series Robusto". This place is a personal favorite of mine since I can’t drive by without looking to see if Papo the cigar roller is sitting outside, a staple reminder of Cuban traditions. Once inside, Ramses the manager is making sure all is in working order, per usual.
Meaning of the Word Guantanamera
Lastly, but for sure not least you can’t write about the Guantanamera Brand’s Cigars, Coffee, Rum, and Beer without understanding the importance of the word “Guantanamera” and how special it is. The truth is if you look up the meaning in Google it is a Spanish word meaning woman from Guantanamo. Guantanamo is a city in Cuba on the Southeast tip of the island where the famous Guantanamo Bay base and detention camp is. It is also the title of a poem written by Jose Marti converted to a song that is somewhat of a national anthem to Cuban’s everywhere. The word Guantanamera can mean different things to different people.
While sitting with Jose and Margarita I asked what the word Guantanamera means to them, but we all agreed that giving a meaning to a word like Guantanamera is like trying to put an essence in a box. You can’t capture words that have wings. Whether you are referring to Guantanamera as cigars, coffee, rum, or beer it is agreed that the word is feminine and a feel-good word that you can’t put a label on. Unless you physically, do put it on a label, like they have been doing it for 24 plus years.
“Like many, I came to this country and moved forward with very few resources. What distinguishes us is that we have our own brand regardless of whether we sell the brands of other companies as well. What makes us stand out is that WE ARE “Guantanamera.” Whether it's Guantanamera as a business, Guantanamera as a coffee, Guantanamera as a rum, Guantanamera as a cigar, and lastly Guantanamera as a beer it puts us in the same cell. When you search for Guantanamera on the internet, you already know that you’re coming to Guantanamera Cigars because it is very characteristically a Cuban word”.Jose L. Montagne
Guantanamera Cigars Today
One of the best things about my job is getting to know the people that run the businesses that make up the world-famous street Calle Ocho and this power couple have made their brand no exception. Just recently they were named “Best Latin Club” by the Miami New Times which is a huge acknowledgment since it’s the community that nominates and then votes the winners in.
Guantanamera Cigars is located at 1465 SW 8 St. on Calle Ocho. You can be sure to find a nice vibe, incredible food, entertainment, and of course, their exclusive cigars that bring people from across the city, not to mention the world. If you want to keep up with Guantanamera Cigars follow them on Instagram @guantanameracigars or visit their website at https://guantanameracigars.com.
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