An ad for Madonna’s Truth or Dare fragrance; bottle design for Truth or Dare by Madonna.
Photo: Courtesy of Coty Prestige
When she’s not making “wild” music videos, singing while being flanked by Givenchy Super Bowl gladiators, directing costume-heavy dramas, signing Chanel boots for Lourdes’ high school fundraiser, or sitting atop her Queen of Pop Music throne, Madonna is concocting fragrances, namely one entitled Truth or Dare by Madonna. You might recall our previous delight when hearing that this perfume was going to smell like a narcotic flower. “What does that smell like?” we wondered while conjuring images of narcoleptic Venus Flytraps. Well, we finally have our answer! Truth or Dare not only debuted a new ad, it arrived on our MTV Style doorstep to sample. Thus, we asked various peeps around our office what they thought it smelled like and what kind of woman it brought to mind.
The Truth or Dare by Madonna fragrance line.
Photo: Courtesy of Coty Prestige
“This smells like an older woman lying around on a fainting couch,” said Tamar, a managing editor. “She’s wearing a pink robe and fluffy slippers, and she doesn’t work.” Out of the six people I polled, all of them used the term “older” (It must also be noted that I did not reveal that the fragrance was Truth or Dare by Madonna.) Production assistant Lauren said, “It smells like you’re on your way to grandmahood, like you’re not quite there, but there’s a hint that you’re heading in the right direction.”
Truth or Dare is a blend of florals, vanilla, and caramelized amber. Available for pre-order at Macy’s, the line ranges from $24 for shower gel to $68 for the largest eau de parfum. The packaging is white and minimal with a gold M and crucifix-fused logo and gold crown cap. When I asked people to describe what the bottle looked like, answers ranged from “casket” to “the place where the holy spirit lives.” A bizarre description, yes, but there is something vaguely monastic about it.
“This is a well-dressed, older, highbrow woman,” said Matt, an editorial assistant. “It smells like Meryl Streep.” The scent of an Oscar-winner came up often, everyone from the aforementioned Streep to Glenn Close. Also, strangely, Melissa Joan Hart . Writer/editor Brenna, however, said, “This is a woman who goes to antique shows at The Armory and wears glasses with a chain. It’s Anna Wintour.”
While I must admit that upon first sniff I saw an elegant older woman in Boca Raton wearing a colorful Hermès headscarf, the intense, controlled, very specific scent of Truth or Dare by Madonna does have a regality to it that seems in line with both Oscar winners and the editor in chief of Vogue. I decided to consult one of our oracles, video producer and editor Nate. “There’s a patchouliness…but it makes me think of food and grandma,” he said, “But not Chanel grandma, more like Pennsylvania grandma.” He sniffed it a few more times. “This is Paula Deen.”
But what does MADONNA think it smells like? “My oldest memory of my mother is her perfume,” Madge told WWD. “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.” Well, there you have it.