The Silent Seduction of Scent
By Mary Lenoir Bond
“I think a fragrance is more of a signature than even what you wear—something you’ll remember more down the road than a shirt.”
–Ryan Reynolds, actor
Ylang-ylang is a flower—perhaps not as well known in the United States as rose or jasmine—but as a perfume component, it’s been cherished for a long time. The best known of these perfumes is Chanel No. 5, famously endorsed by film goddess Marilyn Monroe. Why is it named twice? Who knows, maybe it’s just that good, as some perfumers like to joke! Indeed, this flower, native to the Philippines and Indonesia, is exceptionally unique. Pronounced eee-lang eee-lang, (though some people opt to just call it ylang or ylang-lang), it’s long, heavy, and dangling yellow flowers are so fragrant they can easily catch a ride on any spring breeze with the same grace and beauty as a butterfly. The best scent from the flower is actually produced at night, adding to the romance and poetry of this sublime fragrance.
Perfumers often describe the scent as similar to jasmine and neroli because it’s a strong and sweet floral. There is also a slight hint of tropical fruitiness. Ylang-ylang is fantastically rich, which forms a slight buttery undertone. And yet, its complexity also carries a balancing spiky note that makes it a great oil to mix with lavender or most citrus fragrances. Additionally, ylang-ylang compliments sandalwood and even vanilla. And speaking of creamy deliciousness like vanilla flavor, it’s interesting to know that ylang-ylang is a flavoring for ice cream in some countries such as Madagascar. That may sound odd, but take a look at gourmet treats in the U.S., where flavors can incorporate any type of floral component from rose to lavender, and even violet.
Aromatherapy uses for the essential oil of ylang-ylang are predominantly associated with relaxation and aphrodisiac qualities. It is believed to calm nerves, soothe irritability, and ease anger. Often mixed with other oils that combat stress and anxiety, ylang-ylang can layer nicely with harsher scents to create a more pleasing aroma. As an oil of sensuality, it’s a heady floral scent that’s incredibly feminine and intoxicating. It balances creamy, thick richness with a cheerful, bright quality. Perhaps the fact that the scent is considered to be peace-inducing leads itself to the sensual aspects because who doesn’t feel love deeper when a sense of comfort and serenity are established? Ylang-ylang is also a popular option in candles and massage oils, for some combination of reasons likely having to do with the above assertions.
Truly a scent for lovers, some countries traditionally place ylang-ylang petals on the beds of newlyweds to inspire love and a deeply connected intimacy. The pretty appearance of the flower resembles a long, thin-legged starfish, or sparsely armed sea anemone. It’s an easy comparison to imagine the dropping petals of an ylang-ylang flower dancing in the wind just like an anemone waving its tentacles hypnotically in the ocean.
This seems like an excellent scent to wear on a first date, perhaps cut with some grapefruit and/or sandalwood oil. And as previously mentioned, ylang-ylang is strong, so just a little dab should do the trick. There’s no promise that you’ll catch the attention of Ryan Reynolds by wearing this tropical flower, but it will apparently give you head start beyond the gals relying on just their outfits to catch his attention.
This gorgeous floral essential oil is featured in several Le Noir Bleu products (see photos above and below), especially:
-Moonlight Flowers, our floral essential oil perfume spiritzer
-Detoxifying Grey, the activated charcoal and chamomile all-natural facial mask powder
-Luna Azul (formerly known as Sultry), our romantic, soothing, and sensual therapeutic bath salts and wearable aromatherapy roll-on.
-Sweet Dreams, our aromatherapy spritzer for sleep
-Calm Blue Ocean, our anti-irrtiabilty spritzer
(This article originally appeared on the WildFeather Perfume blog).