The Unexpected Harley-Davidson Product That Didn't Fare Well

There's nothing like the primal sensation of the open air crashing against your cheeks as you traverse any given highway on the back of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Devout H-D enthusiasts know that life on one of those timeless steel-framed beasts is charmed beyond reasonable explanation. The iconic Harley-Davidson insignia represents a covenant amongst motorcycle riders who see it as more than just a brand — it's a family. It's a lifestyle. It's a privilege. Once upon a time, it was also a fragrance. 

That's right. According to Ride Apart, the company sought to diversify in a rather peculiar way around the turn of the century. In a failed attempt to do so, Harley-Davidson marketed their own line of perfumes and colognes that, lo and behold, didn't sit well with consumers despite a series of stylish and ambitious marketing techniques. All the same, you can't blame them for trying. If Yamaha can manufacture both a motorcycle for a man to saddle up on as well as a guitar he can strap on his back like the cowboy from Bon Jovi's "Dead or Alive," why can't Harley-Davidson brew a tincture that smells nice? 

What did the perfumes smell like?

To their credit, Harley-Davidson injected a lot of horsepower into crafting their zealous yet short-lived line of perfumes and colognes. The description for one of their signature fragrances called "His Destiny" read as follows: "Harley-Davidson is best known for their rugged motorcycles, but they also have a lot of other products designed to make you feel like the manliest man out there. The scents found in His Destiny are chypre, amber, ginger, aniseed, sandalwood, leather, cinnamon, and cedar wood." All in all, that sounds pretty alluring, doesn't it (via Ride Apart)? 

They made sure the ladies were taken care of as well. Hints of red berry, mint, bergamot, and green leaves comprised the "Destiny" fragrance for women. It's par for the course that a successful market entity would want to challenge itself and reach for new frontiers, but as it turns out, a motorcycle company isn't very well versed in the ways of the waft. 

People hated the Harley-Davidson perfumes

According to Museum of Failure, loyal subjects of the Harley-Davidson brand abhorred the company's crusade into all things smelly. The fragrances were pretty harsh on the nostrils across the board, and consumers remarked how the company was allegedly trying to "Disneyfy" itself. At the end of the day, is there really any difference between selling out and smelling out? Perhaps not. 

If your curiosity is getting the best of you, there's still a chance you can get your hands on a bottle of one of these infamous colognes. Despite the fact that most of them have been discontinued, Fratanica reports that some of them do still exist, though they are rare. In any case, Harley-Davidson's venture into the world of stylish aromas turned out to be perhaps the biggest farce in the company's history. If you're trying to cook up an aroma that will appeal to the Hells Angels, you should probably make sure it's more angelic than hellish. Lesson learned.