What Does Ylang Ylang Smell Like?

There are tons of different kinds of candles and incense out there, each one with its own unique smell thanks to the range of ingredients used in their formulas.

What Does Ylang Ylang Smell Like?

However, you may have noticed one common ingredient that often appears in candles and incense – ylang ylang.

Ylang ylang is a common ingredient used in all kinds of nice-smelling items from bath bombs to candles – but what is it?

What does it smell like and why is it so popular? Here, we are going to be answering all your questions around ylang ylang and even take a look at its properties and benefits.

So, if you want to learn more about ylang ylang – this is the place for you!

What Is Ylang Ylang?

Ylang ylang occurs in a range of different products in the form of an oil but it originates from a yellow flower that grows on the Cananga tree.

The Cananga tree grows in tropical areas in Asia, such as countries like the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and parts of Thailand. So, ylang ylang has tropical origins.

For years, ylang ylang has been a popular ingredient for a range of remedies due to its healing properties.

Many people find it to be a soothing scent that is used to help with issues such as stomach aches, asthma, and more.

It is believed to have properties that help lower blood pressure and calm racing hearts, leading to ylang ylang being recommended to help ease anxieties and depression.

This all means that ylang ylang is viewed as a calming scent with powerful aromatherapy properties.

However, some also find ylang ylang to be an aphrodisiac and used to help stimulate sexual energy.

In fact, ylang ylang flowers are traditionally spread over the bed of newly wedded couples in Indonesia due to this belief!

What Does Ylang Ylang Smell Like?

So, ylang ylang is known for creating calm and sensual atmospheres, making it an ingredient used to help soothe and promote positive emotions.

All of this is done through the strong, amazing scent of ylang ylang – but what does it actually smell like?

Here we are going to go through the scent profile of ylang ylang so you can pick up on all the notes of the scent. Before you know it, you will be able to pick it out from anywhere!



Ylang ylang is often described as having a deep, sweet scent and this is in part due to the notes of honey that are strongly present in its aroma.

Honey is a super sweet ingredient and this richness is clearly present in the aroma of ylang ylang. Honey

Due to its natural properties, honey also has a slight floral, grassy scent to it too and this can also be picked up in ylang ylang as long as it is relatively fresh and in as natural a form as possible.

Despite this, you will definitely be able to pick up notes of honey in ylang ylang scented items such as incense and candles.


As well as being a very sweet scent, ylang ylang also has a spicy kick to it.

This spicy aroma helps give ylang ylang its more exciting properties, and helps give it a warmth that some people may find stimulating and invigorating.


Closely linked to popular scents such as orange and clementine, neroli is one of the more bitter tropical aromas. It is a notable scent in ylang ylang and helps give the aroma a bright, zesty spark of life.

Its bitterness helps give ylang ylang characteristics more closely related to greenery and earthiness, but these notes are also more noticeable when ylang ylang is in a purer form.


This scent is a mixture between tropical and sweet, and the strong notes of banana are what help deepen and enrich the overall aroma of ylang ylang.

It goes super well with the notes of honey and both work together to help make ylang ylang a super sweet and soothing scent.


Ylang ylang is often used as an aphrodisiac and part of the reason why is because it also features strong notes of jasmine.

Jasmine is another flower often associated with sexual stimulation and is also used as an aphrodisiac.

The fact that notes of jasmine are noticeable in ylang ylang means that ylang ylang also has strong floral notes, which also brings another aroma to its scent profile.

So, ylang ylang is also a floral scent with sweet notes reminiscent of jasmine.


The final scent a lot of people report smelling whenever they try ylang ylang is custard. This is because of how closely custard smells in regard to honey and banana, proving how rich and deep the aroma of ylang ylang truly is.

It also helps sweeten the scent too and complements the sweetness brought from the other floral scents associated with ylang ylang.

What Is Ylang Ylang Used For?

Ylang ylang is a popular essential oil (see also ‘How To Use Essential Oils Without A Diffuser‘) that is used for many different purposes.

We mentioned earlier its role as an antidepressant and as an alleviant for issues like anxiety, particularly where scent is involved.

Ylang ylang essential oil is particularly powerful in scent and thus is used in a range of different products (see also ‘How Many Drops of Essential Oils in Diffuser‘).

You can easily find creams, shampoos, scented candles, massage oils, perfumes, and more which all contain ylang ylang. It’s an aphrodisiac as well as a scent which helps alleviate a lot of medical issues, making it a powerful aromatherapy tool.

As a result, a lot of people use ylang ylang during meditation in the form of incense.

Final Thoughts

So, ylang ylang is a particularly impressive aroma used in a range of ways.

It’s best described as a rich and deep aroma thanks to the strong sweet notes that make up most of its profile.

Scents such as banana and honey help deepen the profile while additional tropical scents such as jasmine and neroli help boost it and make it a great stimulant as well as a smoothing smell.

Because of this, ylang ylang is great for meditation as it will calm your heart and boost your mind. So, why not give it a try?

Andrea Daehma
Latest posts by Andrea Daehma (see all)