Ylang-ylang is a tropical tree that is native to Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia. The essential oil extracted from the flowers of the ylang-ylang tree is a popular ingredient in perfumery, valued for its sweet, floral, and exotic aroma.
In perfumery, ylang-ylang is often used as a heart note, lending a rich, floral quality to fragrances. It is frequently used in floral and oriental perfumes, and can also be found in many men's fragrances. Ylang-ylang is often paired with other floral notes such as jasmine, rose, and neroli, as well as with spicy, woody, or citrus notes to create a variety of fragrance types.
Ylang-ylang has a long history of use in traditional medicine, where it has been valued for its calming and uplifting properties. It is also used in aromatherapy for its relaxing and mood-enhancing effects. In addition to its use in perfumery and aromatherapy, ylang-ylang oil is also used in skin care products for its moisturizing and soothing properties.
Ylang-ylang is harvested and distilled to produce essential oil from the flowers. The oil is graded based on the length of time that the flowers are distilled, with the highest grade (Extra) being obtained from the first few hours of distillation, and the lower grades (I, II, III) being obtained from subsequent distillations. The different grades of ylang-ylang oil have different properties and are used for different purposes in perfumery.
Chanel No. 5: Created by perfumer Ernest Beaux in 1921, Chanel No. 5 is one of the most famous fragrances in the world. It features ylang-ylang as a key note, along with jasmine, rose, and iris.
Tom Ford Black Orchid: A modern classic, Tom Ford's Black Orchid features ylang-ylang as a prominent note in its floral-spicy blend. The fragrance also includes black truffle, patchouli, and incense.
Guerlain Shalimar: A classic oriental fragrance, Shalimar was created in 1925 by Jacques Guerlain. It features ylang-ylang, jasmine, and iris in its heart, along with vanilla and tonka bean.
Creed Aventus for Her: A fruity-floral fragrance for women, Aventus for Her was created in 2016 by perfumer Olivier Creed. It features ylang-ylang, green apple, and pink pepper, with a base of musk and sandalwood.
Jo Malone Orange Blossom: A light and fresh fragrance, Jo Malone's Orange Blossom features ylang-ylang in its heart, along with neroli and jasmine. It also includes notes of clementine and water lily.
Lancôme Trésor: A romantic floral fragrance, Trésor was created in 1990 by perfumer Sophia Grojsman. It features ylang-ylang, rose, and peach in its heart, with a base of vanilla and musk.
Estée Lauder Beautiful: A classic floral fragrance, Beautiful was created in 1985 by perfumer Sophia Grojsman. It features ylang-ylang, rose, and jasmine in its heart, with a base of sandalwood and vetiver.