11/5/12

Charlie (Revlon)



There's a certain irony to Charlie. Look at those women up there. They're wearing pants! The ad campaign featured Shelley Hack and Naomi Sims, and was geared toward feminists who wanted to eschew the role of housewife and take the workforce by storm in the seventies. Charlie is a bitter green-floral chypre, full of citrus, aldehydes, orange blossom, hyacinth, lily, and moss. And today, it's far better on a guy than a girl, or at least that's what contemporary under-40's would likely think if they smelled it. Its ingredients have been cheapened a bit, but the composition is still tight, and every note plays its role well. Even though the whole bitter chypre trend has seen its day with modern women, Charlie would still be a treat on them. It's a shame that I don't smell this on people. Only my grandmother wears it.

Tania Sanchez likened the current formula to an older version of Balmain's Vent Vert, yet disparaged it and said a gal can't be expected to drop hard-earned coinage for it, or some such thing. Makes little sense, unless Ms. Sanchez disliked older versions of Vent Vert (Luca Turin loves the stuff). You can take that odd sentiment for whatever it's worth, or you could just take it from me: Charlie smells good. The opening is a crisp snap of bergamot, very bright and a little dry, rounded out by a hint of muguet and an early bitter edge of oakmoss. After five minutes, the muguet intensifies, bolstered by orange blossom, all sandwiched between remnants of citrus and a cool, mossy base. It's basic, it's green, it's fresh, a touch powdery (might be a healthy shot of galbanum in there, similar to Silences), and altogether pleasant. Does it capture the imagination and send its wearer to tranquil places? Definitely not, as it's too cheaply made for that sort of romance, but if you're the type that doesn't want to bend light with your perfume, and would rather settle for a simple "smell-good," you should see if this is signature-worthy. For the price, it's definitely worth a blind-buy and a few outings.


























5 comments:

  1. I love this perfume, though I couldn't imagine a guy wearing it. Charlie is a smell of my childhood - I smelled it everywhere when I was a kid. It reminds me of my first crush (late '70's) - my 5th grade teacher wore it all the time, and the smell always reminds me of her. And yes, she was a feminist too.

    I bought a bottle for my wife about a year ago, hoping she'd wear it. Unfortunately she hated it.

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    1. It's a difficult one to pin down for some. I'm not surprised your wife hated it, and not really surprised you wouldn't wear it, either. Might be one of those "association scents" where the smell triggers memories that are incompatible with personal use. Regarding your wife, the oldschool nature of it might be the issue, or it could just come down to a genuine visceral dislike of the smell, oldschool or not. Funny how feminism is loosely attached to Charlie.

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  2. My late aunt wore Charlie, probably from the time it was launched. It smelled terrific on her. There is a suggestion of chocolate in there, and her skin brought it out. What a disappointment when I tried it, and it didn't smell good on me! Unfortunately I don't do chypres well.

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    1. That's nice. Chocolate? That's an interesting impression. There definitely isn't chocolate listed in the notes, but Charlie does have an odd semi-edible twist somewhere in there, and I wouldn't know what to call it! Patty, have you given Yatagan a try? When traditional chypres don't work, go for the different ones, there's a broad range of chypres out there, luckily enough.

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    2. I remember trying Yatagan early in my perfumista days; at the time, it didn't make an impression on me. Since then my sense of smell has sharpened and refined, and I am coming to appreciate so many more fragrances (Chanel! Go figure). I will have to try it again, especially since I hear it has a leather note.

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