What Is Ylang-Ylang?


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In the world of fragrance ingredients, there are some key players you ought to know. And while buzzy newcomers can be all the rage, right now we're interested in those common, yet under-the-radar scents, that pack a punch. They may already be a part of your current perfume collection (you just don't know it yet). Take ylang-ylang, for starters.

What Is Ylang-Ylang?

Ylang-ylang (pronounced "EE-lang EE-lang" ) is Tagalog for “flower of flowers.” It refers to both a tree (Cananga odorata) and its fragrant flower. The essential oil extracted from the ylang-ylang flower is used extensively in perfumery, generally as a heart or middle note.

Where It Is Found

Native to tropical South Asian countries, ylang-ylang can be found in the rainforests of Indonesia, Philippines, Java, Sumatra, Comoro, and Polynesia.

What It Smells Like

Ylang-ylang oil is beautifully fragrant, with a heavy, sweet, slightly fruity floral scent. You may also notice nuances of jasmine, banana, and neroli. It is one of the main notes in many of the most popular fragrances today, including Chanel No. 5 and Joy Perfume. 

Other Uses of Ylang-Ylang

In aromatherapy, ylang-ylang is believed to possess stress-relieving, anti-anxiety, and mood-elevating properties. Like jasmine and rose, the scent of ylang-ylang has long been considered an aphrodisiac, and ylang-ylang scented massage oil is believed by some to be an effective topical remedy for sexual dysfunction.

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