Ah, the floral top notes. Lemon blossom, lily of the valley, carnation, then the punch of the base notes, vanilla and sandalwood, musk and cedar.

Yes, it smells like your mother.

It’s Charlie!

Launched in 1973, Charlie immediately became Revlon’s bestselling perfume. It was billed as the “gorgeous sexy-young fragrance” and within three years it would become the best selling perfume in the world.

The commercial images around Charlie, with it’s non-gender specific name, were all assertive and strong: confident women striding out in suits; on the telly it was a woman in a tuxedo.

Later it was controversial too, when one add showed a female model patting a male on the backside. It was derided as sexist and in poor taste.

The perfume got a hit in the arm in 2007 when Oprah Winfrey took a walk down memory lane with a segment on her talk show, because she herself was personally inspired by the ads because they made her want to be “confident and fabulous.”

The original confident and fabulous Charlie model was Shelley Hack (who you may remember went on to replace Kate Jackson in Charlie’s Angels), but subsequent Charlie models were Lauren Hutton and Cindy Crawford.

Charlie was the first grown-up fragrance for a lot of 1970s teenagers, and while it is still available – like 4711 Eau De Cologne – it is no longer a bestseller.


Do you remember what Charlie smells like?

What was your first perfume?



Remember When… We Used Typewriters

Remember When… We Had 45 RPM Singles?

Remember When… We played Totem Tennis?

Remember When… We loved Chiko Rolls?

Remember When… You used to Swing on the Hills Hoist?


Follow us on


  • Reply October 7, 2012


    Does anyone remember the white chocolate ads in magazines with mother & daughter in floaty floral dresses
    eating white chocolate?
    Charlie perfume reminds me of my grandma she loved it!

  • Reply October 8, 2012

    Jane Waterhouse

    4711 ICE Eau de Cologne.. For some reason you had to keep it in the fridge…I can still smell it…

    • Reply October 8, 2012

      Merryl Chantrell

      Jane mentioned keeping 4711 in the fridge and she wasn’t sure why? 4711 perfume bottles had a nasty habit of exploding in the hot weather.

      • Reply October 8, 2012

        Jane Waterhouse

        Well I never knew they exploded! They would be sued today for using such cheap glass. Love it.

  • Reply October 8, 2012

    Merryl Chantrell

    I got engaged and married in 1973 (no shotgun wedding) and Charlie (perfume) was right there beside me with my Mary quant makeup :o) I love Musk and Sandalwood so when Revlon introduced Charlie I made a beeline to the Perfume Department of John Martins (now defunct) Department Store and was one of the first to purchase it. Charlie remained a firm fav until my first child was born 4 years later and I stopped wearing perfume in case she was sensitive to the smell.

  • Reply October 8, 2012

    Lucy Clark

    I know it’s not a perfume, but it’s a similar era – does anyone remember Indian Earth? The little clay pot of bronzing powder that made us all look orange? Ah, those were the days.

  • Reply October 8, 2012


    I was a Charlie girl too. But my first perfume love was Tabu-takes me right back to my teenage years in the early seventies.

    • Reply October 8, 2012


      Gosh that takes me back. Think Youth dew was a favourite too. Remember Yardley’s Pot a gloss. Can still recall the smell. Those were the days

  • Reply October 8, 2012

    Nikki @ Styling You

    I had several gift boxes of Charlie perfume – would not wear it as I didn’t want it to run out. Silly me!

  • Reply October 8, 2012


    On no? I wear Charlie red – I love it, it’s the only perfume I wear. Does that mean I am totally uncool ??? 🙂

  • Reply October 8, 2012

    Chris Klein

    Well I’m embarrassed to say my first perfume was Avon’s Pretty Peach. I think I’d still love it if it was still available. Then I moved on to Mary Quant (think it was AM and PM) and good old Pru Acton. Did have Charlie but don’t recall it being a favourite.

  • Reply October 8, 2012

    Aeron Winters

    I remember Charlie. My auntie wore it all the time. I hated it, still do. There is just something that didn’t work for me with the mix of notes…it was/is so overpowering. My first grown up scent was Rive Gauche (YSL). The chemist where I started working as a junior at 15 started selling a few high end fragrances and this was one of them. I loved the scent, and the cool blue and black aerosol can that it cam in. I think it also helped that I got a 40% discount of the price, or I might have had to settle for something from Yardley’s.

  • Reply October 8, 2012


    4711 ice had the add with Sherbet and Daryl telling us to splash it on little girl bang at the height of Sherbetmania!

  • Reply October 11, 2012

    Dirty Pierre

    I prefer my natural musk………..

  • Reply June 26, 2013

    Leanne Goddard

    Thankyou for the remember when column. OMG
    I remember when all I wanted was to be iced down with 4711 by Darryl Braithwaite. And I wish I could remember what Charlie smelt like. Lol

Leave a Reply