Ylang Ylang - "The Flower of the Flowers" oil. A highly fragrant flower which produces an exquisite essential oil. Ylang Ylang oil was originally produced for the perfume industry. The tree is commonly grown and the oil from the delicate flowers are distilled in the Comores Islands, and Madagascar. The tree may have originated from the Philippines and Indonesia.
Grown in plantations - where they rarely reach heights above 2.5 metres, this is because they are cropped so they spread rather than grow tall. Grown from seeds of highly productive trees, they do not reach maturity until they are 4 - 5 years, and are pruned every 2 months for the rest of their life cycle (which can be up to 70 years of age). The flowers are hand collected during the months of May - July and again in November - December.
The flowers have to be hand-picked, as they damage easily and only mature flowers produce oil. A fully mature tree produces from 5 - 100kg of flowers every year depending on conditions (needing a minimum annual rainfall of 3000mm, otherwise the amount of oil produced by each flower drops significantly), but the amount of oil decreases as the tree gets older.
During the development of the Ylang Ylang production process, distillers noted substantial changes in the colour, odour and density of the oil being produced at different times. These variations occur within a similar time period during each distillation, and produce very distinct oils with their own characteristics and profiles. Ylang Ylang Extra is the oil that is collected in the first 1 - 2 hours. This is the oil that has been traditionally used for perfumery. This is the heaviest portion of the essence, and also the finest as it holds the most ester, ether and phenol content, giving it a light, floral aroma, it is the most soluble in alcohol.
Seen as a supreme calming and euphoric essence, Ylang calms the nervous system, uplifts the spirits and considered to be aphrodisiac in nature. It is also beneficial for sleeplessness and insomnia, and being a warming oil, it can be used for conditions such as fear, anger, shock, stagnation and frigidity. For the hair and skin it helps to balance sebum, so can be useful for both dry and oily conditions. Extra Ylang Ylang is the most valuable in the fine fragrance industry - along with Super Extra Ylang Ylang.
Blends well with : Bergamot, Jasmine, Mimosa, Peru Balsam, Rose, Rosewood, and Vetiver.