Madonna: Truth or Dare, the fragrance, and some rambling...

Ya'll, I'm not even sure where to go with this Madonna thing. I mean, I should just leave this as a perfume review and leave the celebrity "creator" out of it. But I feel like if a celebrity signs his or her name to a product -especially one they "helped create"- how can you leave the celebrity out of it? 

I can't even play around. I am not a Madonna fan. I mean, I had Madonna and Like a Virgin back in the day. On vinyl. Who didn't? And there were quite a few good songs in True Blue. The song "Like a Prayer" was big the year I graduated from High School. But since then, I've really been pretty disinterested in her.

Can I be honest? She's not that great of a singer. But she's worked her ass off to be famous. I don't know if there are any other people out there who have worked so diligently to get what they wanted out of life. Madonna is hardcore. And she's a talented performer. She can work the stage and a camera with the best of them. She's a trend-watcher, too. No, she doesn't really set trends, but she is right there on the first wave of trends, so it kind of tricks you into thinking she's leading the crowd. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think for a performer it's really, really smart.

But there are some things that really just rub me the wrong way about the woman. Like how, by many accounts, she's just not a nice person. And that trend thing. It irritates me that she's so easily swayed from her core being and just becomes these other things, these other people, just to keep herself "in". She's gone a little bit country, dipped into India, done a bit of hip-hop wannabe stuff... what else? I guess Madonna's drive is a double-edged sword. It impresses me, and it makes me think she's a bit... frantic to remain relevant.

Speaking of trying to relevant - what's with Ms. Holistic dropping drug references? She asked
who had seen Molly at a recent concert and her new album, MDNA, is a not-so-subtle reference to MDMA, an ingredient in Ecstasy. 

It's just so obviously "look at me, I'm hip!"

oh-so hip

But relevant she is, I suppose, and now is when she's decided to make a perfume. Like many of us, I wonder "why now"? But maybe the time is perfect. Maybe Madonna sees this as the perfect time do make some bold moves. She's released a new album, has a relatively new line of clothes with her daughter, Lourdes, and has started up a chain of upscale gyms in Mexico*. Why not fragrance?  Or maybe since Katy Perry, Dita Von Teese -and, heavens help us all, Lady Gaga- all have perfumes, maybe Madonna just needed to do it too? 

*Is it just me or does this feel like the most legitimately "Madonna"
thing she's done in recent years? Clearly the woman is in to fitness - it shows in her fantastic physique!

Truth or Dare

So there was my rambling about Madonna, and that's what I brought to the table with me when I sampled Truth or Dare. I think it's clear that I was not predisposed by an avalanche of warm fuzzies to love this scent.

As a lead-in to my review, first here's a little about the scent. Madonna apparently made this as a tribute to her mother, who died when Madonna was a child. I think that's terribly sweet. I cannot imagine how profound that loss must be.

It's said that Madonna has worn Fracas in the past and it may even be her signature scent. This scent is, like Fracas, a Big White Floral. Naturally, there's a twist...
this is a photo of
my little lab sample of
Truth or Dare

 “I have always been obsessed by fragrance and for years wanted to create something personal that was an expression of me, but that other people could relate to as well. Something classical and timeless and yet modern. My oldest memory of my mother is her perfume. I carry it with me everywhere. She always smelled like gardenias and tuberose, an intoxicating mixture [that was] feminine and mysterious. I wanted to re-create this scent, but with something fresh and new about it as well. Something honest and yet daring — hence the name Truth or Dare”, said Madonnato wwd.

Madonna was reportedly deeply involved in the process of making her perfume. She has worked with Stephen Nilsen, Givaudan perfumer, to create the composition of white flowers on an intensive gourmand background.
The scent is both a light and dark, opening with notes of gardenia, creamy tuberose and neroli. The heart consists of jasmine, benzoin and white lily, based on vanilla absolute, caramelized amber and sensual musk. -Fragrantica 

You know what? It's pretty good.

Truth or Dare launches boldly - who would expect less? It's tuberose and gardenia. In yer face. Blam!

It does come on strong, but it does also settle down into a slightly less gregarious tuberose-heavy white floral. These are garden-fresh florals, slightly green and very pretty.

Nearly immediately a candied facet appears. Truth or Dare is now a Big White Floral dipped in caramel. I find the sweetness to be quite intense, but I think my skin amplifies sugary scents. Your results may be different.  On me, this perfume goes on and on and on and on and on and on... like Madonna's career.

I think Truth or Dare succeeds in what Madonna says she wanted to accomplish. What's more traditional than a Big White Floral? And what's more modern than a caramel base? (Well, maybe a few things, but it is trendy.) Moreover, this scent is a well-done blend of innocence mixed with naughty, just like I suspect Madonna likes it.

I've been referring to Truth or Dare as "Fracas Lite". It's apt. Or maybe "Fracas Candy".

If you enjoy Big White Florals, you may like it. If you enjoy other candied scents like Prada Candy or even Jimmy Choo, you may like Truth or Dare. Me? I will keep my lab sample and wear it, but I have no real desire to go out and buy a (not terribly cute) bottle.

This product was furnished for consideration only by the manufacturer or a representative thereof. 
For information on my submission and review policies, please visit my About page.

photo credits: tuberose, gardenia, caramel


  1. Your take on this is about the same as mine - better than expected but no more than very nice, not great. However, I would not mind having it around for when I wanted to wear a white floral that did not knock everyone else back on their heels. Not that there is anything wrong with that. ;-)

    1. Flora, I think we're on the same page. Especially about knocking people back on their heels. :D

      I will definitely keep this around, but I will not be wearing it when it's hot --- I think I'd feel sticky sweet. lol


  2. I haven't tried this. I'm tempted to because it's Madonna, but not excited about the big white floral itself. The gym idea is cool though.

  3. Mary Stephens MitchellApril 22, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    First and foremost...why in the holy HELL am I just now discovering your blog? What's up with that?
    Ok, the topic at hand. I have a soft spot in my heart for Madge. She and I are the same age, give or take a few months. I've followed her arc closely and have loved certain things (Ray of Light) and detested certain things (that whole Warren Beatty thing, ugh). Yes, the girl will follow damn near any trend to stay in the public eye. I think she has that love/hate thing with being uber-famous, but I don't think she knows how to be anything else. I think she's scared as hell of getting old (thus her choice of man-children as partners). I've tried to dismiss her, but I can't. A part of me loves her and wants her to be happy.
    I tested the scent not long ago. I wanted to like it...and I did. It's not going to blow anyone's socks off, but it's a respectable white floral.
    Now, I'm going to bookmark you.

  4. I can't wait to try this, and I think I will like all the elements you describe - Fracas Candy sounds just fine to me, haha! To be honest, I thought Kate Middleton's wedding scent choice of Illuminum White Gardenia Petals was going to be much more like Truth or Dare, instead of which it was a sharp green soapy thing...


I am so glad you chose to comment! I appreciate it. :)

Sorry for the stupid verification things I had to add to the Comment Section, but I am being bombarded with spam.