Also known as the cananga tree, it is a tropical tree that has its origins in the Malay Archipelago. Ylang-ylang refers to the highly valued and sought after perfume extracted from the tree’s flowers, but it can also be used to refer to the tree itself, or an essential oil derived from the tree. It is often colloquially known as the ‘perfume tree’ due to the constant stream of aromas that pour out of the tree’s flowers. The oil extracted from the flowers are often used in perfumery for oriental inspired fragrances due to the region it hails from. It is also often used as an ingredient in floral fragrances, due to how well the aroma combines and blends with other scents.
The tree serves many purposes in perfumery, providing extracts for high-end as well as low-tier perfumes. Cananga oil is a notable extract from the tree, and is generally used as an ingredient in less expensive fragrances. Ylang-ylang oil is a higher quality, more revered extract, which often makes up the bulk of high-end fragrances. It is so highly regarded due to its sweet, strong smelling aroma. Ylang-ylang oil comes in four grades that differ in quality and purpose. These include first, second, third, and extra, with extra grade oil being a frequent component of many high quality scents.