No list of things that smell good would be complete without including babies. As any new parent knows, there’s something mildly intoxicating about their scent that has nothing to do with baby powder or baby lotion. Sonnets could be written about “that new baby smell.

And now scientists are trying to explain it.

In a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Communications Chemistry, German researchers examined body odor samples from infants from birth to 3 months old, and also samples from teens 14 to 18 years old. The samples were obtained after the children wore T-shirts or onesies with cotton pads sewn into the armpits.

Upon inspection, the “qualitative odorant composition” of the samples were not — putting it politely — quite the same.

The teens in the study were past puberty — the time when many teens start using deodorants — and the researchers noted that “sexual maturation coincides with changes to body odor chemical composition.”

As The Guardian reported, “The hormonal changes that occur during puberty are associated with an increase in body odor, linked to the activation of sweat glands and the secretion of sebum. The chemical compounds in sweat easily turn into gas, which is then perceived as a smell.”

The changing aromas of teens affect not only their personal-care purchases but may also affect how teens’ parents interact with them. Research has found that some “parents are unable to identify their own child during this developmental stage” by smell alone and “some studies show a parental aversion towards the BO of their opposite-sex pubertal children.”

The German researchers cited a previous study in which odor samples were collected from teens’ underarms, neck and head after exercise. The samples were rated by a professional perfumer who noted that the scents of older teens’ samples were stronger and smelled “sour/sulfurous” while the younger teens’ samples were merely “sour,” indicating a progression of the intensity of aroma as teens age.

In the new study, the researchers went into great detail about the chemical composition of the samples, but the key words for most parents are perhaps these: “goat-like.” That — and the aroma of cheese — were among the descriptions of compounds detected in body odor samples of teens.

Not surprisingly, samples taken from the infants were rated more pleasant than those taken from teens, “perhaps because the rather unpleasant smelling steroids are absent,” the researchers wrote.

Per The Guardian, “Babies’ samples showed higher levels of the ketone alpha-isomethyl ionone, which smells of flowers and soap, with a hint of violet.”

There is likely an evolutionary reason for that. Numerous studies have shown that a newborn baby’s smell makes the mother want to be with her child, enables mother-child bonding and even allows a new mother to distinguish her baby from others just hours after giving birth.

The German study was small — just 18 babies and 18 teens were studied — and all were Caucasian, the researchers noted. And the study’s authors were careful in how they spoke about unpleasant and pleasant odors, with one telling The New York Times, “I think it’s difficult to determine that one odor is always pleasant for everyone and to say another odor is always unpleasant for every person. So this is an assumption from our side.”