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 vintageadbrowser.com.