What Does Ylang-Ylang Smell Like?

What Does Ylang-Ylang Smell Like?

Think about your favourite perfume for a second: Mmm, it smells delicious on your skin. But do you know what actually goes into the scent? There’s one distinct aroma that can be found in many popular perfumes, but chances are you missed it at first whiff. Enter ylang-ylang (EE-lang EE-lang). Heard of it? Same. Have no idea what it actually is? We did the research. Here’s everything you need to know about the flower, most importantly, what does ylang-ylang smell like?



Ylang-ylang is a yellow, star-shaped flower derived from the Cananga tree. The flower can be found in tropical rainforests in India and parts of the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia. The processing time can determine how potent the fragrance is in essential oil or perfume form.

The ylang ylang flower is used to make several types of essential oil, via steam distillation. The oils vary in the intensity of their scent. Ylang ylang extra is the most potent essential oil derived from the ylang ylang flower. This oil is often used as a top note in perfumes, such as Chanel Number Five. The less potent essential oils are used as medium-to-base notes in perfume, and to make products such as cologne, lotion, food flavoring, and soap. The subtlest form of ylang ylang is often known as Cananga oil.



The flower has a host of benefits (based on scientific research and cultural traditions), ranging from beauty (it’s known for its fragrance) to wellness advantages like:

1. It improves your mood. The ylang-ylang essential oil has been proven to reduce anxiety, depression and overall mood. In a 2009 study, the flower increased calmness in participants. Whether it’s applied directly onto the skin or inhaled through a diffuser, the components found in the flower can be a great stress reliever.

2. It can help lower blood pressure. There are no reports on ylang-ylang lowering blood pressure alone. However, when mixed with lavender, bergamot or neroli oil, it has the potential to get the job done, according to the Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing and the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation. It’s important to note that while it may help lower blood pressure, it shouldn’t replace any medication or treatment.

3. It reduces infections and alleviates pain. A compound called linalool can be found in ylang-ylang. It has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties (talk about a triple threat). The compound works to kill bacteria (like head lice), reduce infections (fungal) and ease any pain.

4. It acts as an aphrodisiac. There’s no research to back this claim. However, the flower’s calming properties have been linked to stimulating sexual desires and balancing mental health.

5. It enhances the appearance of the skin. The key ingredient—linalool—uses its anti-inflammatory to nourish, moisturize and repair the skin. In a 2017 study, the benefits include soothing skin conditions (dermatitis and eczema), clearing the appearance of acne and improving elasticity over time.



As mentioned before, the ylang-ylang scent can depend on the distillation process. But the standard (and most popular) fragrance associated with the flower is a fruity, sweet and romantic aroma. (Think jasmine, neroli or carnations as references.) At other times, it can also give off rich, spicy and strong fragrance instead.

When produced into an essential oil, the potent (or the notes) can be labelled as one, two, three or extra. The extra level can be found in most perfumes and has the highest floral, sweet and fruity fragrance, while the other three levels can vary in radiance, pureness and floral notes.



Currently our only fragrance that uses Ylang-Ylang is Scarlet Lily! 



Kick-Ass attitude - strictly off limits for wall flowers. Big Blooms of Scarlet Ariadne lily, a scandalously heady bouquet and undertones of ylang ylang give this fragrance intrigue.

  • Top Note - Lotus blossom will freshen and brighten the floral bouquet
  • Heart Note - Scarlet ariadne lily and ylang ylang add a modern edge
  • Base Note - Amber creates a warm gentle finish

Have you tried the fragrance? You can shop it here!


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