FYI, This Sneaky Scent Note Is the #1 Reason Perfumes Smell Good

There are certain notes that help give perfume a certain je ne sais quoi. Notes like these are almost never the main event but serve as background characters that make an overall fragrance just work. One of those background characters that works overtime in making a perfume smell good? Ylang-ylang. 

You've probably heard of ylang-ylang before, particularly if you're a frag head like I am. Ylang-ylang is a spindly, yellow, star-shaped flower that comes from the Cananga tree. These are tropical trees that are native to the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Queensland, Australia. These flowers have an extremely unique scent, making them the perfect addition to any floral-forward fragrance. Ylang-ylang is a rich, sweet-smelling floral with notes of banana, woods, and sourness. It's unique, and it absolutely comes alive on the skin. Ylang-ylang pairs well with most classic scents, like vanilla, rose, and jasmine.



Keep reading to find out some of our favorite perfumes that contain ylang-ylang. You might even be surprised that some of these perfumes even contain ylang-ylang, and that just proves how versatile this note is in scents.

Key Notes: Ylang-ylang, Tahitian tiare, ambergris

The best part about this perfume is how subtle it is. It just smells like salty skin on a warm summer day. 

Key Notes: Tuberose, ylang-ylang, jasmine

Tuberose is the main event here, with an explosion of the rich floral being the first thing to hit you. Ylang-ylang adds a hint of warmth, rounding out the scent. 

Key Notes: Pear, white gardenia, brown sugar

Key Notes: Ylang-ylang, blackcurrant leaf, pink peppercorn

This perfume was designed to be like a piece of art by a naturalist painter who set out to capture the ylang-ylang flower in its purest form. That's exactly what this fragrance does—it's ylang-ylang, through and through. 

Key Notes: Tuberose, orange blossom, jasmine, marine accord

Key Notes: Coco de mer, ylang-ylang, cardamom

This warm fragrance is reminiscent of basking in the sun on vacation. It's inspired by remote private islands, and even if you're just spritzing it on before work, the scent will transport you. 

Key Notes: Black orchid, ylang-ylang, patchouli

Key Notes: Ylang-ylang, Damascus rose, jasmine

There's a reason this perfume is a classic—this is the dreamiest blend of florals you could possibly imagine. It balances sweetness and warmth impeccably for a subtle, seductive scent. 

Key Notes: Jasmine, magnolia, neroli

Key Notes: Bergamot, pink pepper, lemon, ylang-ylang, transluzone, heliotrope, coconut milk, musk, cedar wood, benzoin

Salty skin, an island breeze, and blinding sun are all encapsulated in this bottle. Cedar helps ground everything while coconut gives this solar scent island vibes. 

Key Notes: Aldehydes, pear, lily of the valley, iris, rose, orange flower, white musk, Indonesian patchouli, ambrette seeds

Key Notes: Rose, violet, ylang-ylang, iris, sandalwood, musk, tonka bean

Frederic Malle perfumes are always special, and this one is no exception. It's feminine, but it's perfectly balanced with deeper notes to add a hint of mystery. 

Key Notes: Basil, lily of the valley, jasmine, patchouli

Key Notes: Citrus accord, gardenia, ylang-ylang, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver oakmoss, benzoin

If you like amped-up, white floral scents, this one is for you. Ylang-ylang and gardenia are the stars, while notes like citrus, patchouli, vetiver, and sandalwood give the scent some character. 

Key Notes: Rose absolute, cumin, vetiver, musks, cedar, agarwood, olibanium, amber, guaiacwood, cistus

Key Notes: Rosoxydes, aldehydes, orange blossom, Rose of May, Bulgarian rose, ylang-ylang, patchouli, white musks

Forget everything you know about floral fragrances. This perfume combines metallic notes with classic florals to give you an edgier, more captivating scent. 

Key Notes: Citron, mandarin, fresh ginger, magnolia, orange blossom, laminaria blossom, amyris, grey amber, cedar