Madonna Truth or Dare Perfume Review (Tom)

For those of us who grew up in the 80’s it’s hard to describe the impact that Madonna had on our culture. She sashayed out of the post-punk East Village scene with (according to critics) thin writing skills and a thinner voice but with a pitch-perfect take on what 80’s youth wanted to listen to, whether they were actually on the floor at Danceteria or sitting in their bedroom in Tuscaloosa and dreaming. Lace crop-tops, zodiac boots and rubber bracelets were seen on boys and girls across the country. She made music videos that were banned by MTV, famously rolled around the stage in a wedding dress singing “Like a Prayer” on the MTV music awards and generally played the media like a violin. She changed her image as often as necessary to keep the public engaged and had a frank sexuality that would have made Joan Crawford smile. Thirty years on she’s still pushing buttons.

Now she’s pushing perfume.
How does it smell?  It’s a tuberose, sort of a Fracas-lite. But not so lite that it doesn’t have a touch of that rancid butter note that makes Fracas a love to some and a headache in a bottle to others. There’s jasmine and hyacinth and vanilla in there as well, and it made me think of adjectives that I don’t normally associate with the public image of Madge: sophisticated, smooth, classy..
Would I wear it? Right after I have my cone-bra re-blocked. In other words, no. Should you? I think it’s gorgeous. It’s at Macy’s (or as I like to call it, “The Land That Customer Service Forgot”) and looking at the mean amount of shelf space alloted to it, it will be at discounters by the end of summer. Which is really too bad. In the land of celeb scents, this one actually deserves a longer shelf life.
Apparently she’s still pushing buttons; ABC balked at airing the commercial, seen below (If it doesn’t show up click here; very mild NSFW)
$68 for 2.5 ounces, at Macy’s where I tested.
  • Patricia Hall Borow says:

    She tapped the early 80’s zeitgeist, fer sure. She was an original. Not a lot of that around now. Since then she’s been alternately admirable and embarrassing. I haven’t tried ToD yet — will make it to Macy’s to do that, soon. But it sounds like her perfume is alternately admirable and embarrassing, too.

    In the meantime I’ll just keep hitting my little bottle of Fracas extraitwhenever I require a tuberose and butter fix.

  • MotherCourreges says:


    One of these days I’ll have something nice to say, and Alice Roosevelt won’t let me sit by her anymore!

    • Musette says:

      Neither will Dorothy Parker.

      You’ll just have to come sit by me.

      and :The-Incredible-Hulk:

      and the rest of us heathens. We can dish on Madge while she slithers out of her limo and into her G6, trailing furs and knitting and purloined children (she did purloin a child, right? I’m probably making that up)…

      …but for all that, I kinda like her. I like relentless self-love and sheer balls-out guts!

      xo :Devil:

      • MotherCourreges says:

        Yes, she did; don’t get me started again!

        Though you never hear about that one anymore, just 15 year old Lourdes/Lola and her new tobacco habit!

        Now that I’ve gotten the venom out, just sayin enuf of the cheap celebrajunk already (I mean, how many fragrances must JLo get royalties for?), bring back discontiued gems in limited quantities (Deneuve, Theorema, ect) for those of us who would sell our dogs (not me or you, A) to smell wonderful, instead of meh!

  • MotherCourreges says:

    Why is it that I only stop lurking and respond only when I have nothing nice to say?
    Talk about pushing buttons…
    I hold madonna personally responsible for the decline and fall of American culture since she and her narcissistic personality disorder slithered on the horizon…why oh why won’t she just leave already????? I’m totally with Joni Mitchell re: madge, since her arrival, Americans decided they just wanted to be shallow and stupid. Cone bras, crotch rubbing, relentless self promotion and sounding like Minnie Mouse after she huffed helium are not what I want to hear on my headphones. Whatever happend to talent???? And, I agree, she always did look like she smells bad! And I sure don’t wanna smell like her!

    • Tom says:

      So you’re saying you’re indifferent to her? :Happy-Grin:

    • nozknoz says:

      I LOVE Joni Mitchell, but, sheesh, all those mournful songs. I always remember Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan, walking into a post office, I think, in a mens shirt and garters. It was that I’m hot, this is who I am, I’m not afraid to be a woman and I’m going to take on the world on my terms and win. It may have been totally tasteless, but it was liberating!

  • grizzlesnort says:

    How ironic, I’ve always thought she just LooKs like she smells bad.

  • Joanna says:

    Shhhh…oot. Tuberose. If not for that I would have bought it purely out of love for Madonna. I love her, I love her even more the older I get and the more fabulous she gets. I was 10 when Like A Virgin came out and my best friend and I got banned from singing, dancing to or even humming it. I remember asking “WHY? What does virgin mean?” My mom refused to answer and my sister told me it meant Jesus’ mother so then I was even more confused.
    I was really intrigued to see she had released a fragrance. I didn’t see her putting her name on something that was crap so I’m glad to hear you think this is better than most celeb frangrances. It would have been cool if she had done something with roses, papal incense and leather.

    • Musette says:

      OmGAWD, Joanna! What an hysterical story! I am wiping off the monitor, courtesy of a totally indelicate blllllrrrrrrrrpt! of laughter!! :Overjoy:

      I was almost thirty when that song was released – sigh.

      xo :Devil:

    • Tom says:

      That would have been interesting!

    • Ann says:

      I’m with Musette — Joanna, you had me snorting with laughter! What a great story!

    • Joanna says:

      Ahh thanks ya’ll. I still am friends with that girl and we both still love Madonna.

      Lots of Madge haters I see. I just want to say that I love her not only for being an icon and a strong, independent woman…a woman who not only showed the world that women are sexual but that they can be in charge of their own sexuality. I love her for being an activist. She was still finding her success in the early 80s but was one of the first celebrities to speak up about AIDS awareness and about being compassionate towards AIDS victims. She took care of her friend and designer Martin Burgoyne, emotionally and financially during his struggle with the disease.

      She’s loud and quirky and flawed…and I love that. Not enough to wear tuberose though.

  • Ann says:

    Hi Tom, thanks for the review. I was near a Macy’s last week and made a special effort to try this, as it sounded far more promising than most celeb-driven scents. Although I didn’t love it (that Fracas note, as you mentioned, bugged me a little), I thought it was pretty well done. I’m going to get my hands on a sample and keep testing; maybe it would be more palatable dabbed as opposed to sprayed. Also would like to try the body lotion, as that’s sometimes more wearable.

  • rosarita says:

    This review is great, and looks fine to me too. I have fun 80’s memories of the dance floor and the high heeled sneakers and my big hair and Madonna and the long lost MTV (what I can actually remember, that is, as anyone who was clubbing in those days can relate to.) However, I’ve already documented on this blog how much tuberose hates my guts and trash talks about me to gardenia, so that both those b*tches are the Mean Girls of my perfume life. In other words, I wouldn’t touch Madonna’s effort with a ten foot pole, but I’m glad that it sounds well made & classy. Maybe she was channeling her English Lady of the Manor persona.

  • March says:

    …. and for comparison, because I feel like it, here’s my favorite Gaga video, featuring incredible style and production values, layered on substance with the depth of a saltine cracker:

    Would have loved to read the casting call for that video.

    • Musette says:

      Because my kids are grown and I’m up to my elbows in biomass plant parts and I listen to NPR (because we only have country and rap down here – what a bizarre combo)…anyhoo, the only thing I knew about Gaga was from Go Fug Yourself…I thought she was some weird fashion joke, like Bai Ling.

      Then I heard her sing “The Lady is a Tramp” with Tony Bennet (hey, I AM OLD)…

      …that girl has an incredible voice!

      Weird fashion sense, though. Madonna had style. Gaga…?


      btw – my favorite Madonna video is Take a Bow – but that’s because I think the matador is HAWT (though I always root for the bull).

      And those gloves!!!!

      xo :Devil:

    • Tom says:

      I am not looking forward to the Lady Gaga scent. From what I read it sounds more like Lady Gag.

      But I’ll keep an open mind..

  • March says:

    What? Your review looks good to me…. and I laughed all the way through it, you and I are of an age I think, and I *was* that girl. Lace, big hair and all. This fragrance sounds pretty great, actually, and like the Kim Kardashian thing, if it gets girls into big white flowers instead of laundry musk, I am all for it.

    Here’s another Truth or Dare video, from back in the day, big dark eyebrows, cone bra and all:

    • Tom says:

      Yep- we’re “of an age”

      I actually remember going to Danceteria back in the day. Uhh, by babysitter took me there. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

  • Tom says:

    Okay, I have to write that wordpress if it’s possible s^&ks even more than blogger. There is apparently no way that a normal person who even has made his living working in the internets for more than the last decade to make this not look like I was formatting using some font called “Recently Released Psychotic Italic”.

    I apologize; this wasn’t written in the internets equivalent of purple crayon..