In a video I did on YouTube I quickly mentioned the history of perfume and the first perfume Avon put out as well as a short list of discontinued fragrances. What follows is a transcript of the video plus a list of facts regarding the perfumes of Avon.
I would like to delve a bit into the history of perfume and mention some of Avon’s most well-known perfumes to date.
Quick History of Perfume
According to Wikipedia, “The word perfume derives from the Latin perfumare, meaning “to smoke through”. Something you never really think to make sense in how we use perfume today. It began with ancient Mesopotamians and Egyptians as well as a few other cultures who further enhanced the process of making perfume. And it is believed to have been started by a woman according to an old tablet found on Mesopotamian tablets. Of course, the process consisted of using parts of flowers and were distilled several times to get the most out of the scents in which they produce. Archaeologists have noncovered many remnants of proof of the use and making of perfume dating back approximately 4000 years or so. A long time to know we, as humans, have been concerned with how we smell. Not to be confused with our more recent history of bathing regularly. The Book of the Chemistry of Perfume and Distillations by an Arab contained more than 100 recipes for perfume. Currently, we have over 8000 different perfumes as of 2015. Suffice to day 100 must have been a lot at one point.
The Renascence saw a boom in the use and make of perfume and of course later in France, about the 14th century, perfume became a huge market in Europe. We certainly can’t say that there is some sort of difference in smell now between western and European cultures after finding this out.
As you may well know even before bathing became a routine, perfume and rose water was used in a copious amount to cover up the smell. It still happens now but not to such an extent. After all, they worried about the water being unhealthy, they didn’t have the same systems we have today to make sure water is clean. As well as they felt that the pores of the skin opened up more and thought they could get sick from it. From my understanding they felt being too clean wasn’t a good thing whereas now, not being as clean isn’t healthy. The thought of contacting a disease was more connected to bathhouses. A very popular form of congregation and other forms of interacting that I won’t mention here.
With having bathed less often than we do now but still not wanting to stink, perfume was the go-to method of choice. Let’s skip quickly ahead to 1914 when the founder of the then California Perfume Company, now known as Avon, David H. McConnell, began selling perfume after moving to California from the south. In a letter he wrote to his partner, Alexander Henderson, he said, “It is these pomades which we import directly from Grasse for the making of our perfumes, and thus we have the true flower base which makes our floral odors so true to natural flowers and so lasting.” The first perfume they made and sold was Little Dot Perfume. Which got its start in 1886.
Notable Avon Fragrances (My personal Picks)
Then in 1906, they produced a musk perfume which later became Soft Musk. It was in the 1950s that perfume was a much-sold product from the company. It’s where the all famous line of “Avon calling!” became so popular that it has made its way into a film such as Edward Scissorhands. The company had a wide variety of perfumes to sample and buy just as we do now. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular perfumes we have had as a company.
Sweet Honesty. Which consisted of scents of floral, honey, citrus, and vanilla. It is one of my favorites to this day. I do recall a time they stopped selling it and that was when I bought the deodorant. It came back though and is a staple in our line of products.
Imari. A musk with incense and spice. Which now has three different sister scents: Seduction and Elixer.
Far Away. Another favorite of mine. Made with scents of Fresia, sheer jasmine, and amber. This fragrance also has sister scents: Far Away Infinity with bergamot, jasmine, sambac, and sandalwood. I love the smell of sandalwood. And Far Away Gold which has scents of ylang-ylang, Indian jasmine, and Madagascar vanilla.
Haiku. Flowers bloom. Trees are green. Birds chirp. It is Spring. Haiku became popular in 2001 and quickly became popular with its scent of Japanese yuzu, Muguet, and blonde woods. Later two other sister perfumes came out: Reflection with water accord, acacia blossom, and amber. And Kyoto Flower that smells of violet leaf, white peony, and soft cotton musk.
The popular perfume line Rare also has amazing scents. Named after precious stones and pearl we have Rare Pearls, Rare Gold, Rare Amethyst, and Rare Diamonds. Each having in common a wood scents but differing in types of flower and with one, white pepper.
Other classic scents are Odyssey, Timeless, Night Magic (a still very popular fragrance), and Prima.
Men’s fragrance isn’t without mention. Men need to smell great as well and some of our most popular fragrances for men are Mesmerize Black with pepper, nutmeg, and tonka bean. Mesmerize original with Bergamot, cardamom, and amber. Black Suede with bergamot and leather mixed with oakmoss. And Wild Country. For the cowboy in your life who smells of lavender, coriander, and sandalwood.
Among all of our well-known fragrances, we also how new ones out that you may not have heard of. Live out Loud with wild strawberry, mimosa, and vanilla. Also, with it’s accompanying hair fragrance for your hair. Honey Blossom with apple blossom, honey, and vanilla. Peony Rose that is floral and musky. Velvet Rose that is delicious with fig, pomegranate, Bulgarian rose, and velvet. This comes with bath wash and lotion. We had a bath bomb as well.
On the men’s side, we have a very popular fragrance which I bought for the men in my life. And my son called True gent (see collage above). It has laurel leaf, tobacco, and vanilla. Don’t worry he won’t smell like a cigarette.
We have a new fragrance coming out called Far Away Amalfi. Be whisked away to Italy with scents of Italian Bergamot and Orange Flower, highlighted with Coastal Tuberose. I hope that this one sticks around just as Far Away Aloha did last year that took your senses to the magical destination of Hawaii.
7 Avon Fragrance Facts
- (1886) The first product produced called the Little Dot Perfume Set included five fragrances: Violet, White Rose, Heliotrope, Lily-of-the-Valley, and Hyacinth
- (1950) First cream sachet featured in To A Wild Rose fragrance.
- Avon original fragrances were mixed by our founder himself.
- The women David recruited to sell his perfumes were selling perfumes roughly 33 years before women had the right to vote nationally.
- Within the last few years, Avon has produced over 1,500 fragrances internationally.Each global region, such as Asia and the Uk has their own fragrances sold that may not be found in American cataloges.
- Celebrities who have sold their perfumes through the company: Maria Sharapova, Reese Witherspoon, and most notably Fergie. Fergie’s scent, named Outspoken, sold roughly 55 bottles an hour when it hit the market. I love Fergie!
- Little Dot Perfume temporarily re-launched to pay homage to the company’s roots for their 125th anniversary (2011).
Many fragrances have either been discontinued or replaced. I have created a page here made especially for a list that you can look through and see if you might be able to get a fragrance that you can no longer find. I know I wish Smile was still available. It was one of my favorites. That and Bond Girl 007.
You can find many fragrances in my online store here. Keep an eye out for our newest fragrance Far Away Amalfi. Take the scents of Italy with you everywhere you go.
What are some of your favorite fragrances by Avon? Past or present? Comment below.