Katy Perry Killer Queen ~ perfume review

Katy Perry Killer Queen advert

I want to sell out! That’s the thing. I’m a businesswoman, and selling out sounds good to me.1

That's Katy Perry, way back when she released her first fragrance, Purr, in 2010, and was accused of selling out. It's refreshingly honest, at least, right? And Purr was no better or worse than any other youth-oriented celebrity fragrance. Meow!, which followed Purr, was maybe not quite up to snuff, but for all I know it was the bigger seller of the two.

Now we have Killer Queen. It's Perry's third fragrance, but her first with Coty — Purr and Meow! were done with Gigantic Perfumes. The tag line is "own the throne", and the scent is supposed to be powerful, edgy and sophisticated. Longtime watchers of the celebrity perfume market, or indeed of the perfume market in general, know better than to expect any such thing, and as it turns out, unless you believe that the best way to indicate powerful, edgy and sophisticated is with (yet) another fruitchouli, you are bound to be disappointed by Killer Queen.

When Jessica reviewed Lancôme's La Vie Est Belle last year, she said her snarky conclusion would be "Angel with Botox and a blow-out”, and my snarky addition to that is to say exactly, another Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb.2 That pretty much sums up Killer Queen: sweet fruit + a load of caramelized sugar + some very clean patchouli to darken things up.

Verdict: If you're after fruitchouli, Killer Queen might be just the ticket. In its favor, it's got a great name3 and a fun bottle, and it costs considerably less than some of its compatriots — the 50 ml bottle is $49, whereas La Vie Est Belle is $74 and Flowerbomb is a cool $115.4 Killer Queen is arguably more sophisticated than Purr or Meow!, and the commercial is fun. The downside is the lasting power, which is on the lower end for a floriental Eau de Parfum. After a couple hours, it's just a sort of wan darkish musky thing.

Katy Perry Killer Queen, packaging

Katy Perry Killer Queen was developed by perfumer Laurent Le Guernec; notes include wild berry, dark plum, bergamot, red velvet flower, jasmine, plumeria, cashmeran, patchouli and liquid praline. It is available in 15, 30, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum, and in matching bath & body products.

1. See here. I should also point out that Ms. Perry, talking to Women's Wear Daily in late 2011, said that she takes perfume development seriously:

I have seen a lot of the perfumes out there — some of my peers — and I’m like, ‘Did you really approve this?’

2. And longtime readers know that when Jessica is moved to snark, things are very grim indeed.

3. With apologies, of course, to Freddie Mercury, may he rest in peace.

4. Of course, there are plenty of other fruitchouli options: Jimmy Choo's first scent, the original Badgley Mishka, Estee Lauder Pleasures Delight, Chanel Coco Noir, Paco Rabanne Black XS, to name just a few. Do add more in the comments if you are so inclined!

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  1. maggiecat says:

    Oh, I quite like Coco Noir and hate to think of it as a fruitcholi. It probably is, but I just hate to think it. :-)

    • Robin says:

      Oh, but why? I mean, Angel is a fruitchouli — there’s nothing wrong with being a fruitchouli, so long as you are good at it, right? You might argue that we don’t need more of them, but that’s true of nearly any genre you can think of.

      • TheSnailsPajamas says:

        Angel (love it or hate it, it started the whole thing), Badgley Mischka (the first one) and Piguet Visa (reformulated) – all great fruitchoulis, which tend to get slammed because of all the really lousy ones out there. But even I admit it’s hard to think kindly of Angel when you smell the 4 dozen other cheap versions out there.

        • Merlin says:

          Honestly, very few of them smell quite as bad as the original Angel smells to me!

    • PixieNYC says:

      That´s why Chanel was smart with that one. They WANTED to sell to everybody that likes the fruitchoulis, yet they want to continue sounding “serious and classy”. So they call it NOIR, use good ingredients and hey, people call it nocturnal and gothic and what-have-you. It really is a fruitchouli, nothing more, nothing less. Nothing “noir” about it at all. I like it, it smells good, but it does´t last long enough. And I say this as true Chanel devotee.

  2. Omega says:

    I like and own PD by EL, I think I am good with fruitchouli for a while:D.
    I think the ad and bottle for this KP scent is just overall tacky, imo.

    • Robin says:

      PD was a great scent. Not sure if they still make it.

      • Omega says:

        Pleasures Delight was at Macy’s last time I cked:).

  3. Thalia says:

    Gucci by Gucci was (it’s discontinued, isn’t it?) a fruitchouli I liked a lot. Most of the rest of the crowd are too caramelly for me, though — I find that note kind of nauseating.

    Not only is the Katy Perry under 50 bucks at full retail, but it will show up at TJ Maxx in a few months for around $20-25. That’s pretty cheap!

    • I like Gucci by Gucci quite a bit. I have a bottle and I brought it out last week and ended up wearing it two days in a row. It smells really good for the price.

    • Robin says:

      That was a decent scent. This is tamer.

    • LaMaroc says:

      Sometimes I’m so busy groaning over the overuse of pink pepper that I truly forget how much the caramelized sugar and praline notes actually make me physically ill!

      • Robin says:

        Pink pepper, at least, is relatively tame.

    • Lindaloo says:

      La Vie est Belle is already at TJMaxx (or at least at the Canadian subsidiary, Winners).

  4. Dilana says:

    I thought praline was a candy dependent on the semi hardening of carmalized sugar and nuts. So how can there be a scent of liquid praline? (Without having smelled “Killer Queen, would it be unduly cynical of me to suggest that the note is actually a tiny copy of Prada’s Candy”?)

    • Robin says:

      Hey. It’s all fantasy. :-)

      • PixieNYC says:

        I´m late to the game, but it IS fantasy, isn´t it? I mean- what´s up with “vanilla violet” and “crystal amber” and ingredients like that?

  5. 2046 says:

    i remember really wanting flowerbomb while i was in university, but being deterred by the price. i haven’t gone back to revisit it, but unfortunately i’ve now fallen in love with far more pricey fragrances…

    as for the katy perry fragrance, i’ll pass, but i really want to try the Badgley Mischka. i hear it has a prominent osmanthus note, which i love.

    • Robin says:

      I love osmanthus too, but didn’t love Badgley Mischka — but it’s always had good reviews, definitely worth a shot.

  6. JolieFleurs says:

    Love the fun bottle, love the overall campiness of the ad copy…. I’ll definitely be picking it up, hopefully (as Thalia mentioned!) at TJ Maxx eventually.

    It’ll look outstanding amongst the Juicy and Vivienne Westwood bottles in my collection! ;)

    • JolieFleurs says:

      And I’d pay extra to get the sceptre! :P

    • Robin says:

      Hope it will be yours for $19.99 or less ;-)

  7. Merlin says:

    It’s not a fruitchouli, but I’ll still stick with Citizen Queen for this kind of theme!

    • Robin says:

      Close enough. Way more $ though!

      • Merlin says:

        True, which is why I don’t yet own a bottle! I guess I’m sticking to it in theory, lol.

        • Robin says:

          Hey, that’s exactly how I stick to many, many fragrances. In theory.

          • Merlin says:


  8. APassionateJourney says:

    Really enjoy this fragrance. Been wearing it for almost a month! It gets pretty soft but it doesn’t completely disappear from my skin until like 8 hours :)

  9. Marjorie Rose says:

    So, clean patchouli must not bear much resemblance to the all natural patchouli oil my hippie dad likes to rub into his hair, huh? Cuz, none of these scents (that I’ve tried and can recall, anyway) make me feel like I’m smelling that nostagic scent! Of the frutchoulis listed, I’m most familiar with Angel (and I assume Lolita Lempicka is also amongst them–being that it’s so clearly an Angel spin-off?). Angel smells mostly like tooth-achningly sweet foods to me.

    • Robin says:

      No, they’ve essentially taken out the “musty” part and left the rest.

      I personally don’t think of Lolita Lempicka as a fruitchouli, just because it isn’t that fruity…but definitely a child of Angel. The fruitchoulis are what happened when they took Angel clones and amped up the fruit part. To me, anyway. There can’t be any strict rules since it’s a made-up term anyway.

  10. eminere says:

    Nothing killer about it I spose.

  11. CWBjr1958 says:

    Jackpot found today at Marshall’s $20 ;@)

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