The Moschino Toy Collection: Toy Boy, Toy 2, and Toy 2 Bubble Gum. All were blind buys. One was a miss for me, one a huge hit, and the other a trip down memory lane. Which was which? Read one!
A while back I reviewed two fun fragrances from Moschino’s kitschy Fresh line. The Toy series follows suit with some sharp and whimsical marketing. Toy Boy came out in 2019, and this is the first one I bought. It was created by perfumer Yann Vasnier, whose past work includes some of my Tom Ford favourites, like Plum Japonais, Santal Blush, and Velvet Orchid. He’s also done a few for Jo Malone, Marc Jacobs, and many others.
The campaign makes use of lovely Brazilian model Jhona Burjack, and is blatantly homoerotic, which is refreshing for a mainstream endeavor. He’s wearing a leather (it could easily be pleather or latex) perfecto jacket and cap, tight pants, and is there might even be a harness. The juxtaposition of hot Jhona in YMCA attire holding an opaque, black, kitschy glass teddy bear full of fragrance is clear. “Bear” refers to a big, burly guy with lots of bodily (and facial) hair in the gay scene, and, as bears are so cuddly and pliable, there’s also an implied submissiveness here. There’s not even any leather note in the fragrance – very clever. I love Moschino’s whimsical sense of humour – 10 out of 10 marketing. To quote from the campaign copy,
“Toy Boy is the new exclusive fragrance by Moschino that reinterprets elegance with a touch of irony. It speaks to a unique, dynamic, enthusiastic and passionate man, but one who is not afraid to reveal his more tender and playful side. Toy Boy is an exciting play of endless codes seeking out re-evaluation and liberation.”
Although the rose in here does run a smidge masculine, this is well and truly a unisex scent. It is rare to find a non-middle eastern scent featuring rose which targets men, though. And I must say, marketing aside, the fragrance does not disappoint. This might just be my most successful blind buy to date. Not only does the fragrance smell amazing, but it’s also incredibly original and has great performance, which I feel is increasingly hard to find at the designer perfume price point.
- Italian bergamot, green pear, elemi, pink pepper, Indonesian nutmeg,
- magnolia, rose absolute, clove bud, flex flower,
- Haitian vetiver orpour, cashmerean, sandalwood, ambermax, sylkolide (musk)
This is pear flesh paste buttered atop a bed of rose petals heavily sprinkled with pepper, and then smeared out with the addition of cashmere, amber and spices, making it all very mysterious, sexy, and enticing. The rose here is dead center and green, but the pepper overshadows, giving it a dark and gothic personality perfect for romantic, bold, and brooding night-lovers. I can picture a vampire happily wearing this. Or a punk rocker. It’s rimmed with something like fresh lime, and the cashmerean, sandalwood, ambermax, and musk are probably what allow the scent to displace the surrounding air with its presence. Pear is one of my favourite fruits and I also love the ambery woody side to this. There seems to be a hint to violet in here, too. Interestingly, despite the presence of bergamot and pear, I would describe the moistness in here as dewy, not juicy. There isn’t enough water or sugar for it to be explosively juicy, yet I can almost feel the dew drops on the rose stems in here. There’s also an astringent freshness to this which I feel mixes unusually well with peppery rose.
It’s not too sweet, too heavy, too loud, or too anything – it’s very well blended. The dark is offset by brightness and the pepper with elimi can turn delightfully incense-y and churchy, even. Honestly, this is a love for me. I am learning toward giving it 5 stars or even masterpiece status, here, but maybe not quite. There’s a slight soapy quality to it that holds me back. And apparently some people pick up a faint dillweed note lingering in the background, though I don’t personally get that. Also, it’s not as delightfully peppery and sweet in the drydown, becoming a smidge synthetic and juvenile. But I don’t care, because it does tick so many boxes, especially that unique factor. I can’t think of anything it reminds me of. It’s also very versatile – multi-season, multi-occasion, multi-age and multi-gender. Unless you strongly dislike heavy pepper and rose, this is a winner – a very inspired creation among the current pool of competitors in the same price range. I don’t think the cute bottle particularly reflects the juice inside, but I also think this bottle choice was made as intentional irony. OK, 4.5 stars, then. I’m comfortable with that especially in light of the performance and price point.
Because I love this fragrance so much, there are going to be haters out there. For some reason many a polarizing scent tends to be popular with me. However, because this doesn’t break the bank, I think you can blind buy a smaller bottle of this and not want to kill me for hating it after listening to me telling you how great it is.
Boy Toy here is the first one I bought, but not the first of its kind. The very first Toy fragrance from Moschino was launched in 2014 in furry format, and it’s hard to sniff, because it’s hard to find. I’ve not put my nose on it. The glass bottle trend began in 2018 with Toy 2. The noses behind this floral fruity musk are perfumers Albert Morillas and Fabrice Pellegrin and this one is fresh, fruity, green, airy, musky, floral and sweet. It doesn’t perform half as well as Papa bear Toy Boy, and there is no pepper. It targets the female market and I agree that it’s more feminine than Toy Boy, but it’s still unisex to me. To be clear, the bears in today’s trio bare (haha) little resemblance to each other DNA wise. I feel they are three separate perfumes. No flankerization.
- apple, Mandarin orange, magnolia
- white currant, peony, jasmine
- musk, sandalwood, amberwood
I see Toy 2 as less multifunctional – better for daytime and not so great in cold weather. It doesn’t deliver in terms of uniqueness or offer any particular wow factor for me and it doesn’t last long, so I rate this bear at the bottom. Does that mean it’s bad? Well, I definitely won’t be buying it again, but I’m sure there are people out there that love it. It’s a spring-summer fresh floral that I don’t feel is particularly musky. I think it would disappear in cooler months. This is a fresh, fruity, green, sweet floral scent that sparkles. It’s very champagne-like. Yeah, it does remind me of an alcohol-free wine. Like a sparkling white grape drink. The peony gives you a light airiness and lightness that is very non offensive and is therefore office safe. The apple lends a bright crispness that mixed with the florals is pleasant and welcoming and becomes more powdery over time. It’s clean, laundry-like fresh, and brings to mind for me Maison Margiela’s Lazy Sunday Morning. Because of the bottle, I see this a teenager’s first perfume. The choice of model as the face, Devon Aoki has a juvenile look going on that further supports my view. Although she too has some leathery stuff going on – Moshino likes to bring on some mischief But sorry, overall it’s a tad generic and doesn’t deliver for me.
Toy 2 Bubble Gum
Toy 2 Bubble Gum is last in the set and came out after my lovely black bear in 2021, and the perfumer for this one is Olivier Pescheux, creator of 1 million. So that fact alone might give you a hint as to what this might smell like – it’s sweet and yummy! The astronaut-themed campaign is shot by Jeremy Scott, who’s also Moschino’s Creative Director, with model Stella Maxwell in a decidedly 60s vibe. It’s cute.
- candied citrus, Italian lemon, Italian orange,
- bubble gum accord, cinnamon, blueberries, ginger powder, Bulgarian rose, peach, peach blossom,
- cedar wood, ambrofix, silky musk cocktail
To my nose this is like La Vie et Belle and Mon Guerlain poured into a vat of churning Bubalicious bubble gum. Or maybe Hubba Bubba. Or Bazooka (loved the comics with that one as a kid), or perhaps the shredded stuff from Big Leaque. Is this stuff still around today? I don’t know, but with one or two sprays of this, I feel like a kid again. I love to spray this on my arm incessantly in the same way that I used to see how many wads of bubble gum I could cram into my mouth and chew without drooling down my chin. Yes, I did that.
Obviously if you don’t like sweet, cloying, cavity-causing smells, or bubble gum, this won’t be for you. Although I don’t think it’s quite as sweet as it sounds. It’s not as sweet as Aquolina’s Pink Sugar (though that’s hard to beat). The ambroxan in here airs out the sugar to some degree. It’s very literal, so you’re going to smell like bubble gum, not perfume per se, and to me that’s not a bad thing. I find this satiating, but I’m more likely to wear it at home, just for myself. The candied bubble gum accord does fade after only 20 minutes or so sadly, and then it turns into a sweet generic floral cocktail, of rose predominantly. It does lean feminine, unsurprisingly. It’s flavourful, juicy, warm, gourmand, almost chocolate-like on some sniffs – amazing. Too bad it doesn’t last. It’s unpretentious and photorealistic to me – a slightly peachy and cinnamoned, chewy, carefree delight. I don’t know how they got the bubble gum accord so accurate. The closest I’ve smelled is Heely’s less mainstream Bubble Gum Chic, but in that fragrance, you have to sniff past the jasmine a little to get at the gum. I hear that Rebel has a fragrance also called Bubble Gum which is more complex, rubbery in texture, hyperreal smelling and long-lasting, but it does cost more. I haven’t tried it yet, but now I want to. I thought you needed jasmine somewhere to create a bubble gum accord, but rose and peach blossom are the only florals explicitly mentioned for the juice in this pink bear.
Each in this trio of fragrances are available in 30, 50, and 100 ml eau de parfum bear bottles. I have the smallest versions, and next time I buy my black friend here, I’m getting the biggest one.
The one thing I don’t like about these kitschy bottles is that there is a fake cap on top of the bear’s head. Maybe that’s supposed to give off the impression of a beret? I think it would have been cuter without this lid / hat. In a nutshell though, to me, Toy Boy is a total winner, Toy 2 is a loser, and Toy 2 Bubble Gum? – I’ll buy it again if I hear it will be discounted. The pink fragrance is the type of release that might get discontinued because it’s such a novelty. Hopefully Toy Boy will be around for a while, though. This one must be selling well!