Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Kate Walsh Boyfriend: A Tale of Celeb Juice Love

(picture from the Sephora website)

My love of Kate Walsh Boyfriend has become a bit of a joke amongst myself and my blogger friends. If you remember, when I visited the Sephora Sensorium with @alyssaharad a couple of weeks ago, I fell in love with the celeb juice while doing a blind sniff test. I couldn’t forgive myself for it - or forget how wonderful the fragrance smelled. I bought the $20USD .4oz Pulse Point Oil the next day, using the $15 gift card I had received in exchange for my entrance free to the exhibition.

(picture from the Sephora website)

I wore it for a good four or five days straight - a new perfume record for me, I think - especially after being complimented by Ilusionisto for how good I smelled. 
Still, this caused me some grief. How could I fall in love with a celeb juice?! This brings up an interesting question, one that I feel ‘fumeheads everywhere need to think about: Why do we put so much stock in the name a perfume carries, rather than analyzing the juice for what it is? I remember my initial shock at discovering that the perfumed glass that I kept reaching for was scented with Boyfriend, and the anger I felt for being tricked. I like to think that I have better taste, that I wouldn’t fall for something so...well, cheap and available at Sephora. But I did. I’m not sorry anymore for it, especially after reading glowing reviews of the fragrance on EauMG and The Non-Blonde. If Victoria and Gaia, two noses (and friends) whose opinions I trust wholeheartedly, liked Boyfriend then who the hell was I to turn my nose up at it? I decided to embrace my new love with open nostrils. 
I am curious, though, to know what everyone thinks about the question I posed above. I really do want to know why we put so much stock into the supposed superiority of certain perfumes (i.e. Niche over mainstream, Synthetic over natural - or vice versa, Non-celeb juices over celeb juices, etc.). How many wonderful fragrances have I overlooked because of my scented snobbery? How much time and money have I wasted over perfumes that I thought would be good just because of their name, only to find that they stunk? I’m currently reviewing perfumes from a very expensive and very well-regarded fragrance house, and I’ve been horrified by how terrible most of the fragrances smell on my skin. Give me my $20 Boyfriend oil any day! 
Anyway, you’re probably curious to know what Boyfriend smells like. Sorry for rambling!
Victoria’s interview with Kate Walsh (yes, she interviewed the star as well as reviewing the fragrance!) informed me that the perfume oil version of Boyfriend contains more vanilla than the EDT version. Boyfriend Pulse Oil is definitely a very vanilla-heavy fragrance. The initial dab on my skin is all plum pudding: a very well-done gourmand. I smell cream, rich (and high quality) vanilla, and the slight, fleshy tartiness of juicy plums. As the fragrance wears on - and it wears quite well, lasting for about 6-7 hours with low sillage - the fragrance takes on a delicious powdery, resinous quality thanks to a lovely amber and benzoin accord. You know I can’t resist a good amber! In its last hour, it becomes a perfect skin scent, ever so  lightly musky and salty. Still, the vanilla is never lost on the skin. Lovely, cuddly, and warm: just like a significant other should be! 
To be perfectly honest, Kate Walsh Boyfriend smells almost exactly like Prada Candy on my skin. Boyfriend is ever so slightly fruitier and more vanillic, and I think I prefer it over Prada Candy! It’s also much more affordable - a plus since I’ve been so painfully broke lately. 
Now, Kate Walsh’s inspiration for Boyfriend was the smell of her boyfriend on her clothes and sheets after he’d left her bed in the morning: an intermingling of his scent with hers, something evocative of skin, warmth, and intimacy. I love this, since I am fascinated by the sexual aspects of fragrance. I often will spend hours luxuriating in my sheets after Ilusionisto has gone home, basking in his scent. 
With this in mind, I had to know how Boyfriend smelled on my boyfriend. I had forgotten to do this when he was in town last time - sorry, we were too busy eating ice cream! - so when he came to see me last night, I attacked him with the rollerball. I was expecting us to love how it smelled on his skin. I got quite the different reaction.
Joey: (upon initial application) Oh, that smells great!
Ilusionisto: It smells ok. Better on you, I think.
Joey: Oh hush, let’s see in five minutes.
Ilusionisto: WHAT THE HELL IS THIS CRAP, JOEY?! Oh god, get it off me! Ugh! It’s so fake-smelling! Why did you put this on me? Why is there so much coconut!? Fake flowers too? What?! I may not have the vocabulary to accurately describe fragrances, but I know this is bad. It smells a hell of a lot better on you. More masculine, actually. Funny that Boyfriend smells like a girlfriend on me. 
On my poor boyfriend, Boyfriend was the epitome of “pink juice”: a sickly sweet coconut and jasmine confection; screechy, loud, and heavily synthetic. The jasmine smelled cheap, and the coconut was reminiscent of that coconut fragrance in shampoos and conditioners for dry hair. How bizarre, huh? He was right: Boyfriend does smell better on me. I don’t smell any coconut (although Gaia did) or jasmine when I wear it. Ilusionisto was fascinated by the difference, but pissed at me nonetheless for putting a scrubber on him. 
Of course, I made it up to him by spraying him with something much better - that review will be up tomorrow!
As for me, I’m happy to know that I don’t have to share my Boyfriend with my boyfriend. 
Kate Walsh Boyfriend is available in a range of different sizes and products at Sephora and the Sephora website. Apply on your significant other at your own risk. 

17 love notes:

Elvira said...

I never understood why so many perfume people were snobby about certain brands. I wear what smells good on me and what I like. If that happens to be a $20 bottle of Windsong (it isn't) or a $200 of Serge Lutens, then so be it. I detest the prissiness and snobbery associated with so many perfume reviewers. Perhaps if more had an experience like you did, a blind sniffing, they would have a more accepting view of all kinds fragrances. Oh and just b/c it is synthetic doesn't mean it smells bad. Take for example Musk. Since obtaining the deer musk requires killing the endangered animal, nearly all musk fragrance used in perfumery today is synthetic. I'm glad you "saw the light"!

PerilouslyPale said...

I think it is always a great idea to sniff something blind. I always test things before looking them up to see their notes etc. But when it comes to celeb scents you are right. I would never find myself in the position to sniff it in the first place so what am I missing? Kate Walsh however is, as far as I'm concerned, not the typical celeb pushing a scent. I think that may be what sets this one aside from some of the others. I can't see ever wanting to even attempt to try some pop tarts celeb juice. I just know it can't be good.... guess I'm a snob LOL

lexi920 said...

Ha - great review. I really do need to smell this since I trust your choices and nose so much! I think I'm just bombarded with celebrity scents and it's just gone overboard, ie. Kat von D and Snooki fragrances! The celebrity scent I actually liked was Sarah Jessica Parkers first one - because my skin really soaks up the musk and it smells good on me.

Just when I thought I was turning into a Fragrance Snob you go and announce to the world how much you love a fragrance put out by a fake doctor from that annoying Grey's Anatomy show!

Victoria/EauMG said...

Great review! And I'm very happy that you are embracing your love of this perfume. Love what you love.
I like Boyfriend because I like vanilla+patch plus all that other stuff. I like rich, warm fragrances. Boyfriend is sweet and rich and smells great on me. I have guy friends that wear it and I also have girl friends that say it smells like a coconuty mess on them. Go figure.
I purchased the spray after saying I wouldn't because the original Prada fills this void. I couldn't resist the price.

Lydia said...

I used to be completely anti-celeb fragrance until I tried Boyfriend. I had the privilege of interviewing Kate Walsh for her fragrance launch a few months ago and I couldn't believe the amount of work she put into it! Definitely not a "lend my name" situation. If you would like to see my interview, here it is:

ps loved the story about your boyfriend.

Nicholas said...


Anonymous said...

I love Boyfriend because it's powdery, clean cotton ... and vanilla-patch-woody love fest. If this had a designer label or a main stream distributer, I think more hobbyists would be all over it. Who cares? That just leaves more for us ... and ensures that we don't smell like the latest luxe release. :)

xiao said...

LOL Illusionisto's reaction.

Joey said...

Elvira: Thank god it isn't Windsong. I would cry very hard. I'm already appalled by your patch and powder hatred LOL but yes, more people need to do blind sniffing!

Joey said...

Christa, I think that Kate Walsh does add an air of dignity to the celeb juice world. I'm glad it was her fragrance rather than, say, Snooki's. I would have shot myself.

Joey said...

Lexi, I never tried the SJP fragrances and I wish I could have. I'd love a decant of Covet.

Also, I LOVE that I turned you into a 'fumehead! xo

Joey said...

Victoria, I might need the spray now too. I love rich, warm fragrances and I'm glad I discovered Boyfriend. I'm just sorry it was such a gross mess on my BF.

Now, I need to find a bottle of SJP Covet and I'll be happy.

Joey said...

Lydia, thank you for the link to your blog! I cannot wait to read your interview. I'm glad the story about my BF entertained you xo

Joey said...

Nickypoo, HELL NO.

Joey said...

Anonymous, I TOTALLY AGREE. Thank you for summing up all of my thoughts!! A different label, and EVERYONE would be all over this juice.

Joey said...

Xiao, LOL he was so annoyed with me. He thought it was vile hahahaha!

Anonymous said...

I just received a sample of Boyfriend with my online Sephora purchase. It is a perfect Fall scent!