By Amy Wilkinson
Updated November 25, 2008 at 05:00 PM EST
Chris Polk/FilmMagic

Have you ever been in the midst of watching a particularly intense interrogation scene involving Law & Order: SVU‘s hot-headed Elliot Stabler and the smarmy scum bag of the week and caught yourself thinking, “Wow, I wonder what Christopher Meloni smells like?” (Yeah, that happens to us all the time). If so, you’re in luck. In the issue that keeps on giving, People‘s Sexiest Man Alive special has a nifty scratch and smell feature, and we’ve put in our due diligence to sniff out the best-smelling hunk. Here’s our analysis.

Chace Crawford
Smells like: Freshly cut grass
What we imagine he really smells like: Money. And hair pomade. (I consulted my well-coiffed friend Dennis on the matter, and here’s what he had to add: “I’m sure Chace uses something from bumble & bumble, like their grooming cream or something not super fussy but with bang-tastic results.”)

Taye Diggs (pictured)
Smells like: Vanilla, chocolate, sandalwood, and musk
What we imagine he really smells like: Coconut sun tan lotion (because the Private Practice hottie still helps vacationing cougars get their grooves back. Right? Please?)

Chris Meloni
Smells like: A day at the beach (or how I imagine Mr. Diggs to smell)
What we imagine he really smells like: Coffee (the kind in the little blue cups from street carts). And cigarette smoke, because goodness knows you can’t walk down a street in New York without someone blowing smoke in your face.

Michael Phelps
Smells like: L’Homme YSL
What we imagine he really smells like: Chlorine

Based on the evidence presented to us (and our extensive man-sniffing experience), we’re handing the smell-good gold to Phelps and his fancy-schmancy cologne. But that’s just our two cents. Okay PopWatchers, which of People’s sexiest men do you think smells best? Any guesses for what fragrance your other favorite hunks might wear? What does it mean for us as a society that we spent any portion of our weekend smelling photos of sexy men?

addCredit(“Chris Polk/FilmMagic”)