When I wear this people come in closer to smell it. It is my new fav. I like the bottle. Its suppose to be Holy Water.
Truth or Dare by Madonna is one of my favorite celebrity scents and I (love to) wear it. The opening is rather generic with billowy white floral and a dash of aldehydes, but the rapid transition to animalic white floral adds a brilliant and modern twist. The tuberose, so loud in the opening, fades to the background and exposes a hefty dose of orange blossom and lily. Several reviewers describe the dry down as caramel or amber, but to me, ToD is all about the buttered popcorn. Compared to Fracas, ToD is almost “gourmand” and is stripped of most of the shrill green jasmine. The peach and oakmoss accords have been removed and the white florals are creamy instead of soapy. To me, ToD is a substantial departure from its inspiration and I would not consider one a replacement for the other.
The way Stephen Nilsen handled the relatively inexpensive ingredients deserves some recognition—to me ToD smells like it was plucked out of an ELDO lineup. I wonder if an ELDO collaboration would have produced a truly ground-breaking perfume or if Madonna is simply doing what she does best—repackaging, rebranding, and repurposing.
Ok. So hands up, I'm a Frag-head and a Snob (capital S). My collection includes some expensive niche brands, I'm a slave to discontinued Annick Goutal and L'Artisan, Uncle Serge is my hero, but this, this cheap celeb juice gets people every single time. I don't want to admit that one of my most complimented fragrances is bought for £9.99 (incl postage) from eBay - but it is. I don't want to admit that I cringe when people ask me what I'm wearing, and when I wear this they always ask, and then I have to say a celebrity name - but it is. I decant it so I don't have to carry the, frankly vile, bottle around. My boyfriend's friends ask me what I'm wearing and want to buy it for their girlfriends. Yes, it's a loose, modern Fracas, but what the heck! She's done a good job on this one has our Madge. It's sexy, floral, deeper than you'd expect, no hint of 'clean' (which is so popular these days), no sugary vanilla, and just enough musk on the dry down - it is, I'm embarrassed to admit, my go-to frag most days. And I have three, yep three, back up bottles in my collection. I guess the good thing about getting older is that you stop worrying about what other people think and just please yourself: I please myself, and others, by wearing this often. And for 10 quid, blind buy, what can go wrong?
07th November, 2014 (last edited: 28th November, 2014)
I caught the perfume bug very young, and White Shoulders and Fracas were two of my early favorites. Given all of that formative white floral precedent, Truth or Dare feels like an old friend to me, and I grabbed a big bottle when it first launched. I've grabbed yet more of them now that it can be found so inexpensively! I like its funny combination of excess and restraint - the florals are SO heady and opaque, and then the base is rather sheer, and stops short of being as thick and sweet and gooey as I'd thought it would get. Most people feel that Fracas is a better fragrance, though at this point, I don't. Maybe it's my memory, maybe it's the reformulation, but Fracas smells thin to me now. I prefer the happy, sweet voluptuousness of Truth or Dare.
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?
15th December, 2013 (last edited: 19th June, 2014)