The Making of a Bombshell 

Fifteen years ago, we launched America’s #1 fragrance. In honor of National Fragrance Day, we asked the celebrated perfumer behind our most iconic scent how to create a legend.  

While traditional sexy scents sing sad torch songs in Paris nightclubs, Bombshell is a different kind of sexy—bright, vital, and fun. Peonies, passionfruit, pine. It’s a bit masculine, a touch exotic, and lavishly brushed with florals. It smells like you and me, at our most genuinely sexy selves. 

We spoke with Adriana Medina, the perfumer who created Bombshell about the making of and inspirations behind our most famous scent. 

What is the process you have creating a scent from scratch — can you “smell” it in your mind before you create it? How do you find new inspirations for scents? Is there anything unique you keep in mind when creating specifically for Victoria’s Secret?  

I find inspiration in life, travel, and my own experiences. I create based on my mood and on the inspiration and visuals that the client provides. I am in constant search of new ideas and combinations. I routinely type thoughts on my phone, I have a folder of new concepts to test and create. 

For Victoria’s Secret, I must think about the brand evolution, so I try to look at the social media, designs, and store layout, along with new fabrics and different styles…these all provide inspiration. Plus, keeping top of mind who the consumer is and how to keep them engaged and captivated. They are very expressive on social media and the different channels, so I stay up to date to know what they like and what they’re looking for in a fragrance, to create something new, memorable, and relevant that they’ll love and enjoy. 

Were there any women — real or famous — that you thought of or considered muses when creating Bombshell?  

I created a scent that I thought fit the many facets of a woman and something that could be worn every day. It’s a fragrance that I would like to wear daily…considering all my own facets as a working mom, a career woman, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. 

Why did you choose the scent notes that you did for Bombshell? 

Every single note has a special meaning. The freshness from the citrus that I love to use, passionfruit (my favorite fruit), peony (my favorite flower), suntuck pine resin (very unique), papaya flower, cedarwood (inspired by a beautiful forest outside of Bogota, my hometown), orchid (the national flower of Colombia), amber and musk (comfortable and enveloping). 

Were there any surprises that happened when creating it?  

Bombshell was an original mod, immediately approved, believe it or not. Usually, scents need dozens of rounds of revisions and tweaks before everyone is satisfied. Not Bombshell–it was loved and approved at first smell, modesty aside. 

What is your background that led you to becoming a perfumer? 

I am originally from Bogota, Colombia. Back at home the profession of a perfumer is not popular, it wasn’t until I graduated from college and started my first job as a lab technician in the fragrance lab, that I realized it existed. I immediately fell in love with it and had hopes of becoming a perfumer! After 6 years, I finally started on the path to perfumery in 2000, and now here I am.