By Anna Grace Usery
The owners of Oxford’s newest cigar lounge didn’t want their location to be smoke and mirrors, just smoke and the desire to educate the community on a quality cigar experience.
Located on 415 South Lamar Blvd.—on the immediate side of the Chancellor’s House—Spring Street Cigars moved into the building to the former home of Green Canyon Outfitters Aug. 5. The space has been transformed into an opulent, noir-style lounge dedicated to enhancing customer cigar-smoking experiences.
Spring Street Cigars has a 5,000 square-foot home location in Tupelo, but general managers Mo Daher and Todd Knowlton said the smaller Oxford location was perfect for their more mature cigar market. Tupelo is home to Mississippi’s largest humidor—an airtight, ventilated room that keeps the tobacco in cigars moist—and Oxford houses a smaller, albeit refined, version of that.
“We had many customers traveling from Oxford to our store in Tupelo, so we decided on a location here,” Daher, an Ole Miss alumnus, said.
With black leather armchairs, rustic hardwood floors and beautiful displays of cigars tucked neatly in their boxes, the lounge presents an authentic, professional and upscale feel. The selection ranges from a beginner’s “infused” cigar, with flavors like chocolate-mint and coffee-latte, to a more original taste like the spiciness of natural tobacco. All cigars are made with full leaf tobacco—not ground—which gives it a more robust flavor.
“The cigars we offer here aren’t machine-rolled like you’d find in a gas station,” Daher said. “These are hand-rolled and handmade.”
The bulk of Spring Street’s selection comes from three locations in South America – Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. These countries took over cigar production after the U.S. Cuban cigar embargo of the 1950s and have produced mainstay cigar brands since for U.S. markets.
The managers said they invite both novice and advanced cigar smokers to indulge inside or outside the lounge, on their crisp, white outdoor furniture. Even if a customer has never smoked a cigar previous to stepping inside the lounge, Knowlton said it’s his job to teach that customer the process and help them fall in love with it.
“The great thing about cigars is you don’t have to be serious to enjoy them,” Daher said. “Just cut, light and enjoy.”
Most of Spring Street’s cigars range from $8-$12 and are located in the humidor, but many rare, hard-to-find stogies encased in glass can set a customer back up to and beyond $100. For those who prefer tobacco pipes—who Daher, as a cigar smoker, calls “his cousins”—there are several hard goods and loose-leaf tobacco available for purchase.
Daher said he hopes to present to the Oxford Board of Aldermen soon some ideas to add products to help accentuate the cigar-smoking experience, including beer and wine.