A fashion brand synonymous with femininity unveils a male fragrance for rule breakers, writes Syida Lizta Amirul Ihsan.

MAYBE it’s to sell to the younger market, but Carolina Herrera’s new men’s fragrance, Bad Boy, is not what you would expect from a fashion brand known for its elegant and feminine clothes, especially on the red carpet.

Herrera herself is known as a fashion icon, her staple is a crisp white shirt worn with a full black skirt. So forgive me for expecting that a male fragrance rolled out under her name would smell classy, distinguished and distinct, along the lines of Creed and Penhaligon’s.

But I suppose the name Bad Boy itself is a dead giveaway. This is a fragrance that embodies, according to the product literature, “the one who dares to break the rules and walk his path”. It’s a new “icon of rebelliousness”, it says, with “duality within his character — he is strong and sensitive; powerful and empathic; heroic and vulnerable”. That’s a perfect man, in a bottle.


Herrera, the creative director of Carolina Herrera Fragrances, worked with perfumers Quentin Bisch and Louise Turner for the conceptualisation of the fragrance. 

This creative duo created a perfume with absolutely intense and vigorous notes. Bad Boy is an Oriental Aromatic fragrance in which opposites are drawn into each other — the brightness of sage, green bergamot and pepper, blended with the sensual darkness of tonka beans, cocoa and amber wood. 

I find the fragrance rather confusing — it’s not a young scent that’s focused on a citrus smell, it’s also not as mature as woody and leathery fragrances.

Bad Boy is somewhere in between but I am not so sure where and what or who it stands for. It is a scent that can be worn daily but it doesn’t smell special or distinctive even when the scent is bold and strong.


The specialty of Bad Boy lies in its bottom notes, where tonka beans and Absolut of Cocoa blend to make a revolutionary fragrance. The result is an artisanal masculine scent with a striking gourmand sensual float.

“To uncover their secret nuances, these accords have been roasted. They are also a tribute to Eau de Parfum Good Girl, which has roasted tonka beans and cocoa”, explains Herrera, which means that this fragrance is the male side of its Good Girl, fronted by supermodel Karlie Kloss.

The bottle is in an extremely distinctive flacon. Shaped as lightning — the symbol of heroism and strength in cultures such as Greek, Nordic and Indian — this unique piece becomes a true object of desire.

When I took the bottle out, the shape reminded me of Harry Potter’s forehead scar, and Potter too, is a symbol of courage. I like minimalist perfume bottles, so I find this shape, intriguing as it is, a waste of shelf space, and too heavy and utterly unsuitable for travel.

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