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Truth or Dare by Madonna
Flacon Design:
Fabien Baron

Truth or Dare

by Madonna (2012)
66 of 100%, 140 Ratings
Released in the year 2012, production apparently discontinued, produced by Coty.
Perfumer: Stephen Nilsen

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top Notes Gardenia, Neroli, Tuberose
Heart Notes Heart Notes Benzoin, Jasmine, Lily
Base Notes Base Notes Amber, Musk, Vanilla


66% (140 Ratings)
82% (115 Ratings)
73% (121 Ratings)
56% (128 Ratings)
YouTube View Video of Truth or Dare (YouTube)
Researched and submitted by DonVanVliet
Longevity: Very good
Sillage: Very strong
Bottle: Good
1 Award
Breathless Mahoney, ahoy!
I'm a little wary of celebrity scents in general, however, I decided to try Madonna's fragrances for a couple reasons. Though I haven't felt inclined to listen to her music or keep up with her in over a decade, I have a huge soft spot for this living style & music legend who influenced my adolescence so much. When I saw that she had a couple of her own fragrances, I instantly thought of her appreciation for vintage and classic movie stars/style, and I crossed my fingers hoping for that old school, classy Madonna to shine through.

Boy, did she ever! Where do I even begin? I guess with a warning: You must love white florals to appreciate this gem. If you're the type who is sensitive to white florals, let the blindingly white bottle stand as a blatant indication of what's inside, and run far, far away!

However, if you can appreciate intense white floral notes, you simply MUST try this one. The tuberose is relentless and booming, it wafts around you for hours. It may take several minutes for the more subtle notes to start shining through and lending a little bit of spice and creaminess. Madonna certainly succeeded in creating something "classical and timeless yet modern". Truly gorgeous and dangerously intoxicating. There's just one thing: I wouldn't suggest this for casual wear - I'll personally be reserving this for the times I need to feel a little more elegant or confident, say for classy dinner parties or higher-end restaurants.

Lastly, this is one of the most powerful fragrances I've ever tried in terms of sillage and longevity. I didn't expect much for the price, but I was unbelievably stoked after my first spray.
Greatly helpful Review - 12/22/2013
Longevity: Good
Sillage: Strong
Bottle: Poor
7 Awards
Tuberose Lovers Unite
A sharp, crisp tuberose that delivers with opposing notes of surprise. Strong tuberose intermingles with woods and spices in this fanciful perfume introduced by Madonna. One must definitely be a floral lover to enjoy this one or it could be a headache inducer.
There are days I’m in the mood for this type of scent when it basically comes through straight florals without much more mixed in to make this fragrance one of a linear proportion. Did I say tuberose lovers unite in Madonna’s Truth or Dare? They should. It delivers.
After wearing this straight for a few days in bitterly cold weather when I believe the notes would be at their advantage, I still found it to be a basic tuberose lovers’ delight. (There I go again…tuberose, tuberose, tuberose….am I making myself clear here?)
Tuberose radiates strongly for hours until washed off. Why? You guessed it. The tuberose is that strong. Which is a good thing. (For tuberose lovers.)
With a stretch I can find an underlayer of sandalwood hugging and an occasional spice wafting through. But those components hardly hold the show together. Why? Because the tuberose kicks ass instead and is the star of this perfume.
The bottle is unique in design but fools you until you realize it’s only white painted glass. That’s right. Painted glass. As if someone sat in a craft class with their little styrofoam brushes and dipped them in a paint tub and stroked away. Shiny white painted glass. My bottle chipped on the first day of use. On the front, right above the logo. On top of that, there were paint bubbles in the paint finish.
For under 20 bucks with a lotion and bath gel, this was a steal, but I’m still seriously aggravated about the chipping paint on the bottle.
Helpful Review - 12/15/2013
8 Awards
Oh, Madge!
Madonna's schtick has been to tie her name and brand to concepts that are just new enough to be recognizable and exciting, but unformed enough that she can take them without most people knowing that she didn’t invent them. She's not the spark of innovation, she's the gallon of gasoline poured on it.

Madonna flack would have you believe that Truth or Dare is a tribute to classical perfumery. All it took was one word: Fracas. Nest this word in the yarn about the perfume that Madonna's mother used to wear and the story just writes itself. It edifies Madonna's current reformulation as Contempo-Classic British Lady, and connotes a tasteful lineage.

Despite the attempt to link it to Fracas via the use of tuberose, Truth or Dare is an archetypal mall perfume, and its arc from Big Launch to Sephora’s Latest to Internet Bargain had to have been part of the strategy. Madonna aims high hoping that we won't notice the low quality. An appropriate frame of reference for what Truth or Dare might have been is Juicy Couture by Juicy Couture. Juicy Couture dazzles you with its spangle, makes you drop your expectations to the floor and then startles you with a gorgeous perfume. The horror here, and what should haunt perfume producers but apparently doesn't, is that quality come as a surprise.

Sadly, Truth or Dare doesn't surprise. At least not at first. A certain period of the heart notes has an eye-opening touch of Sécrétions Magnifiques. If this was intentional, bravo! But then again, the question: did Madge just 'appropriate' Sécrétions Magnifiques's polluted port-of-call note from Etat Libre d'Orange as she did voguing from the 1980s Harlem Ball culture?

Madonna: bandit or semantic genius?
1 Reply
Sweetgrass 508 days ago
Wrt ball culture I'd just go with "culture vulture", especially as she went on to do the same during the Ray of Light era... But I digress, I appreciate your review. Not many people seem to be bothered when it comes to celeb fragrances. :)
Longevity: Very good
Sillage: Very strong
Bottle: Poor
3 Awards
Pass me a paper bag ?
I HAD this perfume ! But as soon as I took a sniff of the scent.. It was in the bin , this is a very old timer sickly perfume that has a very strong white floral fragrance to it ! To be honest I hate this perfume the best part about it was that Madonna made a perfume suited to her age :/
Longevity: Good
Sillage: Strong
Bottle: Poor
4 Awards
What happens if you mix a Juicy Couture caramel perfume with Fracas in a 3:1 proportion?
Am I the only person who reads Madonna's perfume TRUTH OR DARE as a cross between the Juicy Couture caramel perfumes and FRACAS (in a 3:1 ratio)? The sweet stickiness is all Juicy Couture. The extra dose of tuberose is all FRACAS. But the quality is definitely closer to Juicy Couture, in my opinion. To be honest, I am a bit disappointed after some of the raving I've seen about this--even among some of my best perfume pals!

Perhaps I need to put this into perspective and recompute. This is a celebrity fragrance, after all. It is put out by Coty Prestige, after all. BHT numbers among its ingredients (as is true of every Coty Prestige perfume I've seen). So what was I thinking? I picked up a 2.5 ounce bottle at TJMaxx for $25. Hello? How could this be a great perfume?

The bottle is really unattractive to me. This is a case where the image on screen is much more appealing than the physical reality. The paint job looks cheap. The bottle looks cheap. And the cap? I do believe that this one usurps the crown from the original LA PERLA for worst cap of all time! Cheap! Cheap! Cheap! Why????? Oh, right, I almost forgot. This was a Coty Prestige celebrity launch.
3 Replies
Sherapop 749 days ago
Coutureguru: it's definitely the caramel connection. I might try mixing JC and FRACAS and comparing them side-by-side with ToD. Anyway, I needed to have a bottle of this--Madge is a cultural icon. So no regrets! ;-)
2 more Replies
Helpful Review - 07/28/2012
Longevity: Good
Sillage: Strong
Bottle: Poor
7 Awards
First celebrity scent that I might actually buy
I'm not a fan of celebrity perfumes myself, I actually tend to avoid them and have none in my collection so far. But Truth or Dare is really well done. It does not smell cheap at all. In fact, I honestly believe that if packaged and sold as a new release in some niche line, many tuberose lovers would spend serious money on it.

Leaving this value judgement aside, the scent is a lush, smooth tuberose and gardenia duet. Quite natural smelling too and it mixes nicely with my skin. I enjoy the fact that it's creamy, silky and somewhat mentholated, it feels rather cold and perfect for warmer weather.

In the late drydown ToD gets sweeter and cozier as the sweet vanilla and caramel-like benzoin become more aparent and start peeking through the fading floral notes.

If Fracas had a daughter with a trendy youth-marketed perfume, this would be it. And it resembles its mother more :)

The lasting power and sillage are both excellent.

The only minus - I, too, hate the bottle. *cringes*
Very helpful Review - 07/19/2012
Longevity: Very good
Sillage: Very strong
Bottle: Very good
12 Awards
Madge triumphs again!
Being the Tuberose slut I am, I've been dying to try this fragrance since it's release. I was bitterly disappointed that the launch of Truth or Dare was restricted. It is, after all, a Coty fragrance and as such one would've thought that it would be crawling out of the walls in malls all over the planet. It's Madonna!! This should've been the MOTHER of all launches.

Nevertheless I was in England at the end of May this year when the chance to try and buy presented itself! Love at first sniff for me I'm happy to report. Truth or Dare has rocketed to the top of my 'all time favorite tuberose' list, nudged into second place only by Carnal Flower, and then only by the very smallest of margins.
Yes, it does remind of Fracas but only for the briefest of moments before it goes on to become a fragrance all of it's own. It's so versatile and androgenously gender bending that the mind boggles. The tuberose here is lush and creamy ... the white musk providing more of a civet-like feel to the long lasting drydown. It's actually such a surprise ... one would never think that a fragrance with two such distinct personalities could reside in one bottle. It's white floral, yes ... that's the 'Truth' bit. What makes it so special, however, is the 'Dare' part ... so uninhibitedly sexual and skanky! It's gorgeous. My skin gobbles up fragrance like crazy ... Truth or Dare lasts a good 8 hours on me! That alone makes it fabulous in my book! I wore copious amounts of this on the plane flying home, and was literally pulled into an inflight party by a bunch of raucous English gals who declared loudly that I smelled absolutely edible. Much fun was had :).

All in all a winner!! My advice is to completely abuse the trigger on this one ... guy or gal this fragrance will rocket you to the top of the desirability listings. Whether you like Madonna or not it has to be about the fragrance ... it's simply wonderful :).
2 Replies
Coutureguru 985 days ago
Shera, the KK is more along the lines of Michael Kors, just way weaker and not as well put together. Truth or Dare has little in common with either except for Gardenia of course ... it's Tuberose aspect is wonderful and it's an all round better frag!
1 more Reply
Helpful Review - 07/08/2012
Longevity: Good
Sillage: Strong
Bottle: Good
3 Awards
A Heavy White Floral
Now, when I first had the bottle in my hand I couldn't help noticing that it looks a lot like a holy-water flacon, the kind you can take with you. The gold crucifix logo entwined with the "M" strengthens that impression even more. Given that it's Madonna who (no doubt!) had her hands in every pie whilst this perfume was made. I can appreciate this 'clue' to her name and her signature rosary beats worn as necklaces in the early 80s. Very clever marketing. So far, so Madonna.

When I sprayed this on I was in a perfumery shop and they had so many scents floating around that your nose becomes desensitized from just being in there. But...this scent won't be ignored! I smelled it over everything, and how!! If there ever was an 'ode' to gardenia, jasmine and tuberose, this must be right up there with the best! It's an amazing scent and a hate or love perfume. I had to let it sink in and unfold. But I can already tell that these notes take turns and sometimes even seem to "fight" for center stage. Definitely an evening or special occasion scent.

It's been now about 4+ hours that I first sprayed this on and I must say. I think I have to add this one to my collection.
Here is why: I don't have anything quite like this in my collection. I find that this cauldron of white florals is seductive and very VERY recognizable without that it smothers you (if sprayed with caution!) And its scent evolvement makes for a very unusual harmony of notes on my skin. Compared to what a lot of other celebrities are charging for their so-so scents, Truth or Dare is not that expensive, yet smells expensive. But most importantly, I like it! And, no I am not a 'fan'...does that even matter? A perfume is a perfume and should be judged with your nose and skin.

A definite must sample before purchase. And if you're a floral fan this must be on your 'must sniff' list. Even if you don't care for Madonna.
Very helpful Review - 04/21/2012
Longevity: Very good
Sillage: Average
5 Awards
Nice tuberose
Yes, even Madonna has her own scent now. And yes it seems that is has been a long time for her to make this decision, but no, I don't think this had anything to do with finding the right scent or whatever. Madonna just waited for the perfect deal. I admit I seriously had my doubts as most celebrity scents from Coty don't really appeal to me, but I can say Madonna's "Truth Or Dare" is one of those few scents that are likable to me. It's because her first fragrance is a nice and not overpowering tuberose scent that gladly ommits Ylang-Ylang which I hate. And this note is very often mixed with tuberose, but not this time.
The tuberose stands alone and I'm glad it does since the scent of this wonderful flower is really good. I like it very much. Gardenias are totally abscent here for me, otherwise Truth Or Dare would have been quite similar to the wonderful Gardenia by Elizabeth Taylor which is one of my faves, but it's not. It's more similar to Jardin de Bali without Ylang-Ylang and licorice. A traditional, well done white floral. The scent has also a heavy amber and musk note and a bit of benzoin which makes it balmy, musky and slightly resinous. Madonna said she wanted a classic that reminded her of her mother and yes one can say that Stephen Nilsen made something out of this idea. The scent is topped off with a hint of Neroli and Jasmine in the background. Vanilla is also something I am deeply missing here, so I definetely wouldn't call this a sweet perfume. The tuberose has its sweet moments for sure, but its scent is typical white floral. It's made for the elegant, riper women out there and in fact someone stood by the goal of the advertising campaign that this is for women between 35 and 45. It's for all of you who don't like overly sweet and fruity perfumes and got prejudices on celebrity scents ("sugarwater"). People who like to generalize things might miss out some nice and good scents from the celebrity sector. Madonna's scent is on the side of the better perfumes in the celebrity category and worth a test. Nonetheless I still find negative points when it comes to sillage and bottle. For me personally it's too close to the skin and the bottle is really hideous, I don't like it at all. I just would have expected it to project its scent more to the outside with big sillage. Vanilla and Gardenia as detectable notes would have been perfect for me and might have lifted the scent on my personal scale. Nevertheless the lasting power turned out pretty good which is rare for Coty's celebrity scents.
Very helpful Review - 04/09/2012
Longevity: Good
Sillage: Strong
Bottle: Very good
12 Awards
Best perfume of 2012?
When I told the sales associate at Macy’s that I had come for the Madonna perfume, she didn’t question for even a second the fact that I'm a man or inquire whether I was buying it for a female relative. She knew it was for me and was totally unfazed, an indication that a lot of gay men must be buying Truth or Dare regardless (or perhaps because of) its Jungle Gardenia aspirations. The placement of the fragrance in the store could not have been an accident: it was not obviously situated at the men’s or women’s counters, but in between. Truth or Dare’s unisex intent is further established by its wonderful television ad that visually recalls Madonna’s “Erotica” phase (reviled at the time but now the hottest and most imitated aesthetic reference around) and the noticeable absence of the usually front-and-center gendered marketing terminology: the female announcer merely says, “Truth or Dare, the new fragrance by Madonna.” Not “perfume.” Not “for her.” Fragrance. Nor is it printed anywhere on the box that it is for women. Very clever.
To begin with, nothing you have heard about this fragrance is true, and the general puzzlement and overqualified, reluctant, tight-lipped simultaneous approval /condemnation of it in the perfume blogosphere reflects this. All the reviews thus far go something like this: the reviewer will begin with a disclaimer that she has “admittedly never been a huge fan of Madonna,” a sentiment that I hear every day from every single person every single time Madonna is mentioned that mysteriously belies the fact that Madonna’s tour dates sell out within seconds at astronomical prices and that she is still probably the most famous woman in the world. The reviewer will then marvel at how Madonna is so late to the celebrity fragrance game, insert an unfunny, irrelevant jab about her age, after which will be placed in block quotation the PR copy about the perfume. The reviewer will say that the fragrance smells surprisingly good, surprisingly “old lady” in that it has an extremely noticeable floral component, but will conclude that Truth or Dare is nothing to write home about because who has time for this when you can wear perennial snob favorite Carnal Flower or some other Edgy Cool Indie White Floral that’s not EMBARRASSING like the Madonna perfume! One reviewer cynically and prematurely bashes anyone who might be tempted to “applaud it simply because it is not a predictable cotton candy ditz department store fragrance.” All of this goes to show that Madonna is still a heated, relevant, and above all HIGHLY stigmatized cultural property, as much as she was in the 80’s and 90’s- everyone is fascinated with everything she does, and everyone is still too frightened to immediately embrace any of it until a few years have passed and a bolder critic has stated that it’s okay to like it.
I digress. Wait, no I don’t, because this is a celebrity perfume, and the public perception of the famous name affixed is as integral to the identity of the product as Bruce Weber’s cold, explicit images of Kate Moss were to Calvin Klein’s Obsession, or Victor Skrebneski’s spacious WASP mansion panoramas were to Estee Lauder . Any discussion of Truth or Dare must by necessity include a discussion of Madonna and the fragrance’s marketing. While Truth or Dare is stated to be retro tuberose gardenia floral—a tribute to Madonna’s mother’s unnamed signature scent assumed by everyone to be Fracas—it is in actuality an unexpected, complex, unusual, firmly unisex musk scent with floral, oriental, and gourmand elements in equal measure. It simply smells undeniably terrific: streamlined, sexy, sweet but not too sweet, floral but not too floral, rich but pleasantly cheap, but sniff closer and its shocking character is readily apparent: this is an indole, rubber, and musk fragrance! It is as if a creamy, proudly synthetic white floral accord that smells ambiguously of tuberose, gardenia, and jasmine is underlined by a fierce cocktail of every weird off note that goes along with those smells: big burnt rubber , big fecal indole (to rival Brent Leonesio’s Untitled #8). How is no one noticing how dirty this fragrance is? I have NEVER smelled such proudly displayed skank notes in any mid-range department store celebrity scent! Perhaps it is because the off notes are married so perfectly to a hippie-ish androgynous salty ambery oriental musk base with a beautifully executed burnt sugar note. Truth or Dare’s closest relatives are, I would say, Angel for its two-sided vulgar structure, Juicy Couture for its salty gourmand florals, and Jovan Musk for its loud, ungendered statement of cheap and fun sexuality.
Any complaints? It should probably be labeled an EDT rather than an EDP if only to encourage people to spray it on in great quantities. It is assertive but always pleasant and its ambery musk sticks around a shockingly long time. Depending on how much you wear, it can be a good-time clubbing scent or something more polite for the office. Totally versatile.
If it were approached without prior knowledge of the PR material or that it is endorsed by Madonna, Truth or Dare would undoubtedly be embraced for its originality, defiance of easy categorization, unisex potential, and unique, humorous bottle design that looks like nothing else currently in department stores except that wonderfully kitschy teal opaque Youth-Dew bottle. When was the last time I had this much FUN with a mainstream department store release? I love it to death.
7 Replies
DeGe53 1099 days ago
O.K. - it's here now and I tested it. And I would not wear it to the office - well, not an office in Germany. And yes, I was surprised to find my skepticism swept away. I like it, but it would probably go on my nerves if I wore it.
6 more Replies

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