Thursday, January 09, 2014

Avon- Charisma (Vintage Perfume)

The one Avon perfume I was truly curious about was Charisma from the late 1960s. Actress Charisma Carpenter (above) was named after it, and I really wanted to smell an Avon perfume (any perfume, for that matter) that captivated a woman so much she chose it as her daughter's name. I named cat after Olivia Giacobetti, but I draw the line at Mahora. Oddly enough, Charisma is the one Avon fragrance that isn't as common at thrift stores and yard sales as just about everything else from the line. Charisma is easy to locate online, though, and comes in most 60s and 70s presentations Avon offered back then, including a turtle, a pig, the Christmas bell and others (search Etsy and you'll see what I mean). I got one in the Petit Fleur bottle which seems fitting for the content.

The notes for Charisma (via Fragrantica) read like a classic floral from decades gone:
aldehydes, bergamot, peach, neroli, hyacinth, coriander, iris root, carnation, jasmine, rose, narcissus, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, sandalwood, amber, civet, musk, tonka bean, vanilla, and styrax.
What I get here is kind of a Chanel wannabe. Charisma is an aldehydic floral with a very nice core of hyacinth-narcissus-muguet that has a very perfumy effect (what my husband often calls "smells like vintage"). I have a lot of respect for this fragrance because it never turns soapy-- the flowers remain vivid, green, and spring-like. The dry-down is also quite typical to the genre: a creamy vanilla-sandalwood with a hint of civet  to keep things slightly more interesting. Charisma smells far more elegant than the unicorn and seahorse bottles suggest, and if you're a fan of this style it's definitely worth trying. It's a lot of fun. Maybe next I'll get it in a turtle.

Photo of Charisma Carpenter via one of those Buffy fan sites. Charisma ad from


  1. When I was about 12-13, many years ago, I had a collection of those little figural Avon bottles. I think there are still a few of them hanging around at my mother's house. I think I'll see if any of them contain Charisma. I bought them for the bottles, and never cared what was inside. Thanks for the memory.

  2. I lived my teenage years in this perfume. Maybe I should locate a bottle just to have it.

  3. New releases aside, I'm a fan of a Avon scents, they definitely have a few sleeper hits, some favorites are: Imari, spicy/floriental, Vivage by Louis Feraud amber/oriental and Odyssey, powdery/aldehyde.
    I'm all for naming cats after perfumes or perfumers, my next black cat will be named Bandit.

  4. A relatively sophisticated looking print ad, a name like Charisma, a truly beautiful, elegant perfume...and a pig. Can't help it - absolutely cracks me up. Seems like a complete disconnect. I've come to love a number of vintage Avon perfumes, including Charisma, but I have to confess that I do try to get the more neutral bottles. The cutesier ones just seem so out of sync with the quality and mood of the perfumes inside (the white owl, especially, always looks like a 70s bathroom air freshener to me). Always wonder what the perfumers for Avon felt about some of the packaging.

  5. CHARISMA******loved it and then it got DISCONTINUED******sure wish AVON would bring it back....

    1. I 1st wore charisma in high school 69, 70, 71, loved it wish avon would bring it back


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