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Top 25 Best Smelling Essential Oils

A woman smiling while inhaling a beautiful smelling essential oil

Recently, a visitor to AromaWeb emailed me to request a list of the essential oils that smell the best. She is new to working with essential oils, and the first essential oils that she purchased smelled more medicinal than she expected. She had a hard time deciding what to purchase. I can understand her dilemma. It can be expensive to buy essential oils without being able to smell them first.

Let's face it. As much as we love essential oils for their therapeutic benefits and aromatic delights, some essential oils smell exquisitely better than others.

Below is a list of 25 citrus, conifer, woody, floral, spicy, balsamic and resinous essential oils that have a reputation for being the best smelling essential oils that are commonly available. The list is partly based on the preferences of aromatherapy colleagues, comments that I've read over many years from AromaWeb visitors and through various social media exchanges.

However, aroma is very subjective. You may not love every essential oil that's on this list, or you may find some of your personal favorites missing from the list. Use this list as a starting point for your own exploration in creating your own personal list of favorite essential oils.

Be sure to read the safety information for each essential oil that you are considering using.

The List of Top 25 Best Smelling Essential Oils is presented in alphabetical order. Click on the essential oil name to view a detailed profile for the essential oil.

1. Cedarwood: Atlas Cedarwood Essential Oil or Virginian Cedarwood Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Cedrus atlantica / Juniperus virginiana
Aromatic Classification: Conifer/Wood
Perfumery Note: Base
Atlas Cedarwood is endangered. It is best to use Virginian Cedarwood Essential Oil.

2. Cardamom Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Elettaria cardamomum
Aromatic Classification: Spice
Perfumery Note: Middle

3. Chamomile (Roman) Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Anthemis nobilis/ Chamaemelum nobile
Aromatic Classification: Floral
Perfumery Note: Middle

4. Cinnamon Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Cinnamomum verum / Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Aromatic Classification: Spice
Perfumery Note: Middle

5. Coriander Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Coriandrum sativum
Aromatic Classification: Spice
Perfumery Note: Middle

6. Fir: Douglas Fir Essential Oil or Siberian Fir Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Pseudotsuga menziesii / Abies sibirica
Aromatic Classification: Conifer
Perfumery Note: Top

7. Frankincense Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Boswellia carterii / Boswellia sacra
Aromatic Classification: Resinous
Perfumery Note: Base
There are other beautiful Frankincense Essential Oils distilled from other species of frankincense also available.

8. Ginger Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Zingiber officinale
Aromatic Classification: Spice
Perfumery Note: Middle/Base

9. Jasmine Absolute

Botanical Name: Jasminum grandiflorum or Jasminum sambac
Aromatic Classification: Floral
Perfumery Note: Middle

10. Lavender Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Lavandula angustifolia / Lavandula officinalis
Aromatic Classification: Floral
Perfumery Note: Top/Middle

11. Lemon Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Citrus limon
Aromatic Classification: Citrus
Perfumery Note: Top

12. Lime Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Citrus aurantifolia
Aromatic Classification: Citrus
Perfumery Note: Top

13. Mandarin Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Citrus reticulata
Aromatic Classification: Citrus
Perfumery Note: Top

14. Neroli Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Citrus aurantium
Aromatic Classification: Floral
Perfumery Note: Middle

15. Orange (Sweet) Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Citrus sinensis
Aromatic Classification: Citrus
Perfumery Note: Top

16. Peppermint Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Mentha piperita
Aromatic Classification: Minty
Perfumery Note: Top

17. Pine: Pinyon Pine Essential Oil or Scotch Pine Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Pinus edulis / Pinus sylvestris
Aromatic Classification: Conifer
Perfumery Note: Top

18. Rose Otto Essential Oil and Rose Absolute

Botanical Name: Rosa damascena
Aromatic Classification: Floral
Perfumery Note: Middle

19. Rosewood Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Aniba rosaeodora
Aromatic Classification: Wood
Perfumery Note: Middle

20. Sandalwood (Indian) Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Santalum album
Aromatic Classification: Wood
Perfumery Note: Base

21. Spearmint Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Mentha spicata
Aromatic Classification: Minty
Perfumery Note: Top/Middle

22. Spruce: Black Spruce Essential Oil or Hemlock Spruce Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Picea mariana / Tsuga canadensis / Pinus canadensis
Aromatic Classification: Conifer
Perfumery Note: Top

23. Vanilla Absolute or Vanilla CO2

Botanical Name: Vanilla planifolia
Aromatic Classification: Balsamic
Perfumery Note: Base

24. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Cananga odorata var genuina
Aromatic Classification: Floral
Perfumery Note: Middle/Base

25. Yuzu Essential Oil

Botanical Name: Citrus junos
Aromatic Classification: Citrus
Perfumery Note: Top

Aromatherapy Blending Guide:

See Also:

General Safety Information

Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. For general dilution information, read AromaWeb's Guide to Diluting Essential Oils. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. Consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. Before using this or any essential oil, carefully read AromaWeb's Essential Oil Safety Information page. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.

Shelf Life

View Shelf Life Information

Important Information About the Profiles

The essential oil information provided on AromaWeb is intended for basic educational purposes only. The references to safety information, test results, constituents and percentages is generalized information. Essential oils can vary greatly in composition. The data is not necessary complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate. The essential oil photos are intended to represent the typical and approximate color of each essential oil. However, essential oil composition and color can vary based on harvesting, distillation, age of the essential oil and other factors. Profiles for several CO2 Extracts and absolutes are included within the directory, and are denoted as such.

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