The Whirl has three layers to it, two modes of protection and the inner core.
The first layer is the plush microfiber plush velvety sleeve; it's easy to remove, since it's got a zipper running down from end to end. I found that it was a bit tricksy to squash the Whirl back into the case, more difficult than putting a pillow into a pillowcase, but not anything unmanageable. The plush of the Whirl is similar to that of the Liberator Throe, and exactly like that of the Hipster; it's cozy and snuggly and it makes a good pillow, beyond its uses in the bedroom.
Underneath the plush sleeve is a polyester sleeve that serves as the main layer of protection for your Whirl. It's not entirely waterproof (I wouldn't want to use this in the pool, for example) but it does a good job at keeping anything and everything from getting to your inner foam. This sleeve, too, can be removed for a more thorough cleaning, but I've found that all cleaning I need to do can be done easily while it's still on the Hipster; just take a damp sponge or paper towel to it and wipe it down.
The inner core is a solid foam, similar to the foams used for cushioning beds, but super dense. It's solid without being unwieldy and uncomfortable. None of the layers had a significant odor. It appears to be well made, with a few loose threads, but nothing distracting, ugly, or showing actual poor craftsmanship.
There's also a small square patch on one of the ends of the Whirl, which is sewn on. It's about two inches by three inches, and is subtle and unobtrusive.
The Whirl worked well. It was most successful for me when it was being used for doggy style, because it gave me a boost up, which was especially helpful - it's being used with a tall partner and doggy style is otherwise difficult. Anal is also great with this pillow, especially when you have a low bed (or a tall partner!) because it brings your hips up, and gives better access to all the lady/gentleman bits.
I didn't find that it worked well for missionary for us, because it kind of squished down when all my weight was rested on it. The Hipster or Wedge would be better for that (for me), I think, because it can provide more support and better distribution. It did, however, work well for oral, perhaps because all of my weight wasn't left on the pillow as much, and I could use the momentum of the circular shape to rock back and forth more.
This came packaged in clear plastic, with a piece of cardboard/paper (well, that's the closest descriptor I can think of!) wrapped around the middle, showing two people in one of the positions possible, a bit of text, and the Liberator name. If you remove that, it's totally suitable for public gift-giving, as it just looks like a regular pillow. It doesn't come with instructions, but it comes with a booklet from Liberator with a few position suggestions and info about their other products. It would travel well, since it's so discreet.
The outer layer can be cleaned by tossing it in the washing machine with similar colours, and I'd let it air dry, to err on the side of caution. As I said earlier, you can clean the inner layer with a sponge or paper towel.
My Whirl also had a special feature, a mysterious purple sticker, sewn into the inside of the outer layer. What does this purple sticker signify? What does it mean? For what does it stand? Is it a membership sticker to some super secret Liberator club? I wish I knew.
I wish I'd thought to photograph it before I took it off, but I totally didn't. Even so, here's a visual on my super secret Liberator club membership sticker.
As an aside, I use this pillow to fill up the giant well in my headboard (it's got an eight inch hollow, which sucks all my pillows in at night while I sleep, but this is perfect to save me from awakening flat!) It also works well as a footrest, or to raise knees up.