Unsurprisingly, our man panel unanimously opposed anything that smelled remotely like their grandmothers. The biggest scent-offender in this category? Powder odors, especially in super-concentrated forms. Besides noting these scents reminded them of little old ladies, the guys also mentioned their dislike of the overpowering rubbing-alcohol aftersmell. The bottom line: If a perfume is on your nana's dressing table, it shouldn't be on yours (sorry, Grammy!).
Clean Scents = Turn-On
You're not the only one who likes that just-out-of-the-shower feeling. Our man testers said oui oui to Christian Dior's orchid-infused J'Adore, claiming it smelled natural, like the girl next door. Of the Estée Lauder fragrance Pure White Linen one guy said, "It smells fresh-in a sexy way that makes me want to jump into bed and mess up the sheets." He can thank the combination of gardenia petals, white freesia and dewy greens for that. Other clean scents to try: Lancome Miracle, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue and Yves Saint Laurent Elle.
Desserts = Turn-Off
The smell our testers got the most excited about came from a street vendor selling meat outside a local perfumerie. But don't douse yourself in eau de shwarma just yet. "I don't think women should smell like food-nor should men for that matter," quipped one guy. Vanilla, however, was the exception. The men thought Laura Mercier' French Vanilla Souffle Body Creme was lickably good.
Woody and Floral = Turn-On
Don't be put off if a perfume says musky, spicy or woody on the label. Although you might think the notes are masculine, these multilayered scents smell great on you-and will win him over in a big, big way. "It smells like pure sex. It really does. I'm giving it to my girlfriend the first chance I get," one guy said about Very Sexy by Victoria's Secret, which boasts pepper, vanilla orchid and soft wood scents, among others. "If I smelled this on a girl," another guy said of the white pepper, patchouli and amber blend of Christian Lacroix Rouge, "I'd think she was pretty outgoing-which is a good thing-since it hits you a little bit more than the floral or powdery stuff." If you're into flirting through your fragrance, you could also try Calvin Klein's Secret Obsession Perfume or Tom Ford Black Orchid.
Strong Florals = Turn-Off
It may come as a surprise, but not too many guys are into stopping and smelling the roses-or any other kind of strong floral scent. "If it's too flowery, it makes me think of an old lady," noted one dude after getting a whiff of a bouquet-like perfume. (Maybe that explains why so many guys are hesitant to give flowers?)
Super Fruity = Turn-Off
According to our scent testers, sugary-smelling, fruity perfumes make guys think of the candy store or the kitchen, not the bedroom. "It smells like Jolly Ranchers, and I like Jolly Ranchers, but I'm not sure I'd want a girl to smell like one," one tester said after inhaling an apple-scented spray. Pear, honeydew and lemon scents all fared the same: "Citrusy and desserty smells make me hungry, not turned on," another guy said. Case closed.
Fresh Subtle Citrus = Turn-On
Our guy testers gave the thumbs-down to perfumes with overwhelming notes of orange or lemon, but fragrances with just a hint of citrus mixed with a soft floral scent got the A-OK. "It's sassy, it's got a kick," one guy said about Clinique's aptly named Hint of Citrus solid fragrance. "I could see a girl with attitude wearing it." Hermes Un Jardin Apres La Mousson and L L.A.M.B by Gwen Stefani both balance blossom notes with a fresh, fruity scent.