“A poor man’s jasmine” is ylang-ylang‘s unfair moniker, but to me, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. Ylang-ylang essence, obtained from the fragrant flowers of the Cananga odorata tree, shares some facets with jasmine, but it’s even more dramatic. The icy cold top notes of wintergreen are contrasted with the apricot jam sweetness in the heart, and the whole smells more luscious than a flower is allowed to be.
Enter Diptyque Eau Moheli, which not only promises to give us a new ylang-ylang interpretation, but also features a refined new version of this classical perfume material. Several years ago, Givaudan, a company that manufactures fragrances as well as many of the raw materials used in flavor and fragrance blends, started a project on the island of Mohéli in the Comoros. The quality of commercial ylang-ylang oil has declined over the years, and the idea behind Moheli’s project was to regenerate the production of ylang-ylang. The result was a high-grade essence, with nothing poor about it.