Post from Manhattan Minds, an inspired blog on New York City Art, Beauty, Fashion & Lifestyle, by the Founder, Mona Maine de Biran...
If you are on Instagram and follow fragrance, then you’ve crossed paths with Instagram sensation, Mr. Cologne. A self-made perfume connoisseur and enthusiast, his channel @Mr.Cologne76 is touted as the largest fragrance conversation happening on Instagram and the place for “Ordinary people discovering extraordinary fragrances.”
Mr. Cologne, otherwise known as Glenn Davis, and I met up at NYC’s Sarabeth’s just north of Union Square recently for a long talk about his loves, fragrance and family, and recommendations for New York City scent enthusiasts like myself. I was curious to know more about Glenn.
What inspired him to create such a successful fragrance community on Instagram?
Undeniably, Glenn is an Instagram fragrance community treasure. The breadth and wealth of content he provides is, to say the least, vast. At last count, his channel has contributed over 3,000 posts to the instagram dialog. While some may connect with him as a peer and fellow journeyman on a scent adventure, there are literally thousands who look up to him as a trusted advisor or educator.
The world of niche fragrances certainly benefits from this kind of support. Many celebrity and designer fragrances are household names, due mostly to the multi-million dollar advertising and marketing budgets behind those campaigns. But, for those of us looking for an olfactory experience that is exceptional and out of the mainstream, it is difficult to find information on those niche-brands. Likewise, it is difficult for the niche houses to get their message out to the interested consumer. Most niche brands just do not have the budgets to compete with those multi-million dollar awareness campaigns.
Beautiful niche-brands with distinctive scents often live in shadows. Known mostly to those already “in the know”.
Glenn helps both sides of the equation, people and niche-brands. For his followers, he helps make sense of the often veiled and mysterious world of niche-fragrances. A scent adventurer, Glenn seeks out and finds great niche-houses and advocates for the things he enjoys.
In the past year, @MrCologn has featured dozens of niche-perfume houses that create inspirational and unusual fragrances, like: KIERIN NYC, Byron Parfums, Imaginary Authors, 4160 Tuesdays Perfume, Atelier Desors, Byron Parfums, Parums Dusita, Frassai, Fort Manle, Masque Milano, Abaton, Nishlane and Nasodiraza. After introducing the concept of each brand, Glenn introduces people on the qualities of these, otherwise obscure, niche scents.
Scent Provoking Sundays has become a ritual for many enthusiasts and @Mr.Cologn76_fans.
Glenn is the creator behind Scent Provoking Sundays, a weekly special where he engages with his audience. He starts every weekly session by simply saying, "Let’s have a conversation.” And they do! Some of the threads exceed 800 comments on a single Instagram post (even so, he responds to just about all of them.)
The newest program on Glenn’s growing platform is an Instagram Live Session called Scenter Stage where he hosts live interviews with perfumers, brand owners, reviewers, and other fragrance enthusiasts. I had the pleasure of joining one such session a few weeks ago and was amazed to see how many people in the fragrance community engaged in this forum. His is a “fragrance family”, connected by a common interest in getting personal with scents. Scenter Stage is a natural extension, a platform for meeting the people behind these perfume brands and channels.
This kind of goodness does not happen overnight or without focus, hard-work and purpose.
A registered nurse by profession (like his mother and father), Glenn is a man clearly inspired to help people by nature and tradition. His welcoming nature, respect and love of family, organically draws his “frag com” (fragrance community) and “fragrance family” to him on Instagram. He shared with me some of his earliest memories of fragrance within his own family as a child.
Before moving to New York at the age of 17, Glenn was born and raised in Trinidad. His interest in perfumes, he explains, started as a child at the young age of four. His first fragrance obsession was with a popular, local lime scent known in Trinidad as Limacol. Other fond childhood memories include sneaking into his mother and father’s room for a spritz from their collections and his father’s passion for fragrances.
Moving to New York opened up a whole new world of fragrance experiences for Glenn and his family. His father started expanding his collection and it became a shared hobby and passion. The first fragrance gift Glenn received was from his mother, a bottle of Elizabeth Taylor, Passion for Men. From that moment forward, Glenn’s path was set. He told his parents that only present he ever wanted to get as a gift was fragrance. Some of his other earliest additions were Drakkar, Burberry, Avon. And now, Glenn has hundreds of fragrances in his collection.
“Son, I might not always look good, but I will always smell good!”
Glenn has always appreciated this inspirational expression of his father’s. Like father, like son, Glenn uses it often in his sessions to inspire others.
I am touched by Glenn’s philosophy and agree that, while we may not always be blessed with the perfect looks, circumstances or gifts, it is through our choices and effort that we can be heard. I, too, love how a fragrance makes us feel beautiful. I love how scent has the power to evoke not just memories… but feelings and action, too.
My father was a proud military man- a humble, peaceful man of un-yielding faith and action. Often, as he wished me on my way, he would say, “Mona, make it a great day!” Because whether or not I was given “a good day”, he wished me the wisdom, will and grace and charged me with the responsibility to go forth and “make it so.” His words served as a terrific reminder, getting me up on many a down day, that power is within.
Glenn is also widely known for his expression, “I don’t see gender in fragrances.”
He has even popularized a hashtag #idontseegenderinfragrances to spread the message. In fact, it was this hashtag that drew me to Glenn. I, too, am an advocate for change. As those of you who follow my blog Manhattan Minds know, I am very much in opposition to the gender-bias perpetuated by the fragrance industry. The idea that floral scents are exclusively feminine and that “manly” scents are limited to oud or leather is, in my view, utter nonsense! As a woman, it insults me and makes me feel sorry for the men.
Though I always dismissed the “for him” and “for her” labels as senseless stereotypes, it took me having my own children, both a boy and a girl, to awaken. No longer do I find it enough to just ignore products that promote social injustice. The claim to be “for him” (thus not “for her”) is, in my personal view, segregation along lines of gender and as intolerable to me as us as any other kind of segregation issue.
I admire Glenn’s support of the issue and his attempt to do something about it by spreading the word. His sincere appreciation for perfumes and their compositions means he looks past the hype and marketing. He is not shy in proclaiming that he wears what he enjoys and makes him feel good, period! His support helps people to look past these “for him” and “for her” stereotypes so they can be free to just wear what they like, too.
New Yorkers can discover some of the extraordinary scents Glenn talks about on his Instagram channel here in New York City.
In no particular order, Glenn lists some of his favorite New York City perfumeries as Osswaldsnyc, Bloomingdales, Barney’s and Bergdorf Goodman. These places all offer good selections of niche perfumes presented by friendly and informed staff, he says.
So, if you are looking to smell like someone extraordinary but don’t know which niche-brand is your bag or who to turn to on Instagram for advice, hop on over to @MrCologne76 to listen in and join the dialog. You can also learn more about Glenn at ÇaFleureBon where Editor-in-Chief, Michelyn Camen, invited him to write a guest column as part of its Fragrant Awakening Series.
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Author: Mona Maine de Biran
Manhattan Minds is an inspired blog on New York City Art, Beauty, Fashion and Lifestyle.
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