Because harvesting ylang ylang is all done by hand, it’s really important to know which flowers you should pick.
We want to pick flowers that have nice, long, yellow petals with perhaps a little green on them. If a flower is over mature, it starts to shrivel, or atrophy, and smells sour. A flower that is still quite lime green is not mature enough to be picked.
What we have again is just like with other plants; it is in the harvesting and knowing the right time and the right flowers to pick.
With ylang ylang we generally consider the first four grades of flowers: extra fine, fine, first, and second. Sometimes we have even third and fourth qualifications, but the only ones that we’re concerned about are the first four grades.
So you can go from having a green, immature flower that is classified as a second grade to having a beautiful flower that is yellowish, mature, and rich in fragrance, which would be classified as an extra fine grade. The oxidized, over-mature flowers would likely be classified as first or second grade.