With its exotic name, ylang ylang could only come from tropical Asia. Unlike many plants, ylang ylang essential oil can be extracted at different times during the flower's lengthy distillation. First is the top grade ylang extra, then ylang II, and finally ylang III.
The resulting ylang-ylang products can either be combined into "ylang complete", which contains a blend of all the three grades, or a complete oil that comes from a full, uninterrupted distillation process.
Unfortunately, this also means that you can get inconsistency of aroma across the three grades - if the process is not perfectly timed it can result in oils that are less than perfect.
The oil is distilled from the cananga tree, which produces greenish-yellow, starfish-shaped flowers, and is widely used in perfumes - it is infused into coconut oil to produce the scented coconut oil, Macassar oil, which is popular as a hair dressing in the South Pacific. It is also a key ingredient in many men's fragrances, striking a different note from the rose scents so often used in women's perfumes.
Aromatherapists use it for the feeling of deep calm that it invokes - it is perfect for reducing anxiety, tension and stress. It can be overpowering, however, so experienced aromatherapists know to use it sparingly.