A few weeks ago, we began to receive a slew of lovely new spring fragrances. But soon, after whiffing one perfume after another, they all kind of start to smell the same; it became one floral, fruity, sandalwood explosion in the Cut headquarters. Because men are often the silent victims of our perfume experiments, we enlisted the men of New York Media (to protect the innocent, quotes are anonymous) to help us edit down the bounty. We asked each guy to pick a bottle at random, spritz, and then imagine what type of woman might wear that particular perfume. It was a Rorschach test of smells. With eyes closed, they took in varying notes — from apricot to white musk — and conjured up characters to match.
From our admittedly small sample set, we learned that men mostly associate scents with memories of former girlfriends, moms, and grandmothers, as well as the occasional fantasy woman. Once we gathered enough data and giggle-inducing quotes (“She likes to smell the fruit at Whole Foods”), we commissioned artist Alejandro Cardenas to illustrate their very specific descriptions. Click through to see perfumes like Givenchy’s Dahlia Noir L’Eau, Odin 09 Posala, Calvin Klein Eternity Summer, Dries Van Noten par Frédéric Malle, and others as imagined for the women who might wear them — don’t worry, real fragrance notes are also included, in case you feel like brightening up your season with a new scent.