What Fragrances Do Men Like on a Woman?


Perfume with pheromones to attract the opposite gender are old news. Did you know that an odor’s effectiveness in attracting men is heavily influenced by food, or rather the association with it? Turns out that when it comes to food, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach AND his nostrils. In this article, we’ll show you which of the perfumes available at Essenza will be your (potential) partner’s favorite, and what it has to do with food.

The Link Between Food, Scents, and Emotion

There is an entire field of science dedicated to smells and how or why they affect us. Dr. Alan Hirsch is a psychiatrist and neurologist and has dedicated most of his career to finding out how smell and taste influence our behaviour, mood, emotions, and even physical reactions. He founded the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, where they focus on the negative effects of losing the senses of smell and taste and how to treat or overcome the loss.

Part of his research was a study that split trial groups into men and women and measured the blood flow to their genitals while giving them different odors to smell. The result? Men and women have positive reactions to the smell of food. For men, specifically, it was the smell of baked goods like doughnuts and cinnamon buns that showed the strongest reaction.

Dr. Hirsch theorizes that, much like a smell that can give us intense flashbacks to a memory, men react to the sweet smell and are reminded of home, joy and safety, which in turn makes them more likely to show their affection. If this is an emotion you want to trigger in a man, here are some scents that could work.


Given the positive reaction to baked goods, it’s unsurprising that vanilla is on top of the list of scents men prefer on women. In fact, vanilla has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries, so it’s an age-old tradition by now.

  • Try Mancera Velvet Vanilla. Its vanilla scent is paired with sharper odours like pepper and cloves to keep it from being overwhelmingly sweet and heavy.


Next to vanilla, the cinnamon in cinnamon buns seems to be the most effective in attracting men. Like vanilla, cinnamon has been used as an aphrodisiac and is said to leave men feeling warm and excited.


Whether men enjoy or dislike floral scents is a controversial subject. Most men would tell you they dislike flowery perfumes. They are thinking of floral perfumes that are overpowering to the point of nausea. A simple floral note in a fragrance, however, has shown to have positive effects on men, according to Dr. Hirsch’s research. One of these more subtle flower smells is the Lili-of-the-valley.


Speaking of sandalwood. It is one of these heavy woody smells that makes us think of the Orient. It is a popular ingredient in massage oils and is said to relieve anxieties and cause arousal. That’s why it was famously used for tantric massages.

  • To alleviate the heavy wood smell, the sandalwood is best paired with subtle floral scents. Lubin Epidor pairs it with violas and jasmine.


Jasmine is the perfect addition to a sandalwood perfume. Its soft, flowery smell relieves some of the heaviness of the wood scent. On top of that, jasmine itself has been used to treat mood disorders and increase libido.

  • The appropriately named Jasmine OD imitates the flower’s smell and adds hints of citrus and tuberose.


We are really seeing a pattern here: Most of the perfumes including one of the scents on this list will also include some of the others. When you are trying to make a perfume to attract men, combining ingredients that support each other’s effect is the right way to go.

In comparison to most of these other scents, citrus fragrances energize rather than relax. Oranges in particular are widely used to improve mood. This positive emotion is definitely something you would want to elicit in a man you want to attract.


While working out the most effective smell combinations that seemed to elicit a feeling of arousal in men, one of the top three combinations were lavender plus pumpkin pie. Based on the theory of men liking the smells that make them feel safe and at home, lavender might be on the list because it is such a popular smell for cleaning items or bath salts. On top of that, lavender has been proven to have a calming effect in general. It releases tension and helps with falling asleep.

  • Xerjoff Naxos (XJ 1861) is a real triple threat. While it is marketed as a men’s fragrance, it contains vanilla, tonka beans, lavender, jasmine, honey, and citrus scents, which checks almost all of the boxes on this list. That might just be the reason it is sold as a men’s perfume, they clearly seem to enjoy the smell.


It seems pretty clear what you need to do when choosing a perfume that a man would like to smell on you: The scents of baked goods, sandalwood, citrus and select flowers are scientifically proven to have positive effects on men’s emotions and libido. However, keep your specific target in mind. Memories and dislikes play a part when it comes to reactions to scents. Additionally, always try the perfume out before buying it. Your body chemistry influences whether a fragrance will smell good on your body.

Written by Megan Taylor
Megan is a beauty expert who is passionate about all things makeup and glam! Her love for makeup has brought her to become a beauty pro at Glamour Garden Cosmetics.