Ylang-Ylang: Scent of The Tropic’s Star

Honored the Queen Of Perfumes- The star shaped Ylang-Ylang from parts of Southeast Asia is at the top of the price scale, and attributed to 40% of quality perfume’s composition in the global market, despite being recognized as an exotic fragrance note. Let us find out more in this article today!


The name ylang-ylang is the Spanish reduplicative word of Tagalog origin. Meaning “wildness”, it is pronounced Ilang-ilang by the Philippines. This flower is from the fast growing Cananga Odorata tree of the custard apple family Annonaceae. It is formerly recognized as the “poor man’s jasmine”.

Native to the rainforests of the Malesian ecozone, it grows on acidic soils, and under full or partially sunny conditions. The tree grows pinnate leaves, and the flowers are drooping, long stalked, with a shape similar to a sea star in greenish yellow (pink in extremely rare cases).

The essential oil extracted from the flowers are used in aromatherapy due to its medicinal properties, and considered an aphrodisiac by some due to its sensual aroma. It is also involved in the crafting of the first floral perfume- Chanel No. 5, by French couturier Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. It is also involved in local culture, being scattered on the bed of newlyweds in Indonesia, and as a symbol to adorn religious images in the form of a necklace for the Philippines.

While grown in various places, such as the Philippines, Madagascar, Java, and the Coumoron Islands; it is still an object of exorbitant prices in international trade. This is due to the fact that for one kilogram of ylang-ylang absolute alone, it takes around 400 kilograms of ylang-ylang flowers to produce through distillation, while only 10 kilograms of flowers can be harvested from a single ylang-ylang tree each year. 


With its sensual and rich aroma with nuances of sour, dirty, and woody lusciousness, the ylang-ylang is rightfully hailed as the Queen of Perfumes. In a mix as a heart note, the ylang-ylang brings a rush of exotic, deep, and floral tanginess with a fruity facet akin to a banana. Its scent had been described as cinnamon like, but feminine.

Best Match

The ylang-ylang has great versatility as a standalone essential oil, and is known to work well with floral, citrus, and woody notes in perfumery, such as grapefruit, lavender, and sandalwood. 


Mood Booster

It is discovered from a trusted source that the ylang-ylang has capabilities of reducing feelings of anxiety and boosted self-esteem when inhaled.

Antibacterial, Antiinflamatory & Antifungal

The ylang-ylang contains linalool, a compound which has been associated with antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been proven to be an effective means to reducing symptoms of the fungal infection Candida albicans.

Popular Variants

Cananga Odorata- The most popular variant. Its aroma retaining ability is slightly weaker than the climbing ylang-ylang. Functions as medicine and food additives that are safe to consume.

Artabotrys hexapetalus- A less popular variant by the name “Climbing ylang-ylang”, which has shorter but bigger petals. The flowers are long lasting when ripe and emmates a fruity smell that resembles a jackfruit. Flowers all year around, especially during summer and rain, but requires regular pruning and a large garden to cultivate.

Synthetic vs Natural

Due to the hoo hahs surrounding trade secrets, perfume manufacturers are not obligated to disclose every single ingredient used in their products. Likewise, notes represent what the product should resemble in scent, not necessarily in content.

The ylang-ylang is a rather special case. The absolute that is acquired from distillation are separated into 2 variants that affects its properties: The Extra, which is the highest density of oil extracted from 1 hour of distillation, and is more fitted for natural and personal use perfumes; and The Complete, which is a more balanced (and affordable) composition that is produced from 10 to 20 hours of distillation, and is more fitted for therapeutic uses.

Here, we present to you the S.L.A.P.- Pinpointers when it comes to identifying if a perfume containing ylang-ylang is synthetic or authentic. Do keep in mind that these pointers are applicable only when identifying for perfumes marketed as “natural”.


While there is no easy way to tell, having an experienced sense of smell is quintessential in identifying synthetics, or watered down bottles.  The disparity between a pure natural extract, and the more alcoholic or artificial extracts is more than often obvious.


If a perfume is marketed with “using natural ingredients”, it should always have the scientific name of the element listed, and should be traced online with ease. If the name of the ingredient is not in Latin/ is in English instead (ex: Cedarwood instead of Cedrus Dedora); this is your cue to look elsewhere.

There are no synthetic variants of the ylang-ylang made available on the market, so always cross check online for the authenticity of the product’s chemical compositions to determine its effectiveness. Likewise, although a hassle, always cross check the list of ingredients contained online to tell if it contains toxic or harmful chemicals.


Please purchase your natural perfumes from trusted sellers or fragrance houses.


As essential oils from natural ingredients are more labor intensive to source, it is expected for products of this nature to be more expensive. This is even more so in the case of the extensive process of gathering for ylang-ylang absolute. If your gut feeling or research makes it clear that the deal is too good to be true, it probably is.

At Precision Perfume, we aim to deliver extravagance with the utmost care to our customers. We source only the finest materials; and share those stories with you.