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Article: Featured Scent: What Does Eucalyptus Smell Like?

Featured Scent: What Does Eucalyptus Smell Like?

Eucalyptus is often used to make soothing fragrances that calm the mind and relax the body. From high end furniture stores to the scented towels at Equinox, the refreshing evergreen smell of eucalyptus is loved by people everywhere. 

In this ode to eucalyptus, one of the most popular home luxury scents, we’ll talk about what eucalyptus smells like and the origins of this ubiquitous aroma.

What Does Eucalyptus Smell Like?

Eucalyptus belongs to the woody fragrance family, which is characterized by rich and aromatic fragrance notes. Its smell comes from the oil in the silvery-blue leaves of eucalyptus trees (which we’ll talk about a bit later). 

Some say it smells like Vicks or Tiger Balm. Others say it smells like koalas. So what does eucalyptus actually smell like? 

  • Woody
  • Camphoraceous
  • Minty
  • Slightly sweet 
  • Green and leafy
  • Hints of citrus and lemon

Eucalyptus features a distinct camphoraceous smell, which some people describe as sharp and slightly medicinal — kind of like rosemary.

It's a multifaceted forest scent with hints of mint, honey, and citrus. 

Imagine hiking along an airy stream inside of a sunny pine forest. The pungent notes of wood and resin infuses but doesn’t overwhelm your senses. It also contains sweet and fruity nuances, like a young orchard after a spring shower.

The minty aspect comes from terpenes, which are the main constituents of eucalyptus oil. It’s not as strong as peppermint, but eucalyptus certainly is well known for its crispy, cooling, minty aroma that makes it an instant refresher.

According to Bath & Body Works, the smell of eucalyptus “leaves you in a super-relaxing, just-finished-yoga sort of mood,” which is a fun description that we wholeheartedly agree with.

To sum it up, eucalyptus smells clean, fresh, and invigorating. At the Harlem Candle Company, we use mint-infused eucalyptus as a middle note in our “Holiday” luxury candle to add a dreamy airiness to its strong and full-bodied fragrance.

Where Does the Eucalyptus Scent Come From?

Eucalyptus oil contains 90% eucalyptol, an aromatic terpene with a pleasant, mint-like smell. It also contains other terpenes like cineol, pinene, and limonene, which account for its camphoraceous, woody, and citrusy notes.

The oil originates from a tree species native to southeastern Australia. There are over 660 varieties of eucalyptus trees, but the most common species is Eucalyptus globulus, also known as Blue Gum Eucalyptus.

This tall, evergreen tree features a smooth, cream-colored bark and distinctively blueish-green leaves. Most of the essential oil is stored in these leaves. 

During hot summer days, the leaves release eucalyptus oil in the form of a mist, which combines with dust particles and water vapor to produce a bluish haze. 

The production of eucalyptus oil started in the 19th century. During this process, the leaves are dried, crushed, and steam distilled in order to extract the oil.

What Are the Benefits of Eucalyptus?

The eucalyptus tree secretes a sticky antibacterial resin that was used in the past as an antiseptic to kill germs and ward off fungal infections. It was popular among the Aboriginal tribes of Australia as an ingredient in traditional medicines for wound healing, decongestion, and pain relief.

Eucalyptus is an extremely well-known scent for aromatherapy, room diffusers, body oils, and scented candles. Its relaxing scent relieves exhaustion, elevates mood, and rejuvenates the spirit. 

It's an ideal scent for unwinding at home, practicing meditation, or enjoying a healing bath. The smell of eucalyptus can also be beneficial at nighttime to help promote restful sleep.

Our Favorite Eucalyptus Candle

At the Harlem Candle Company, eucalyptus is featured in our best-selling wintertime candle: "Holiday" — an homage to Harlem's music legend Billie Holiday


The Holiday candle is inspired by Billie’s favorite perfume, Emeraude, an aromatic green blend of fresh winter spruce, pine needles, mint-infused eucalyptus, fir balsam and spicy cedarwood developing into a feminine heart of ethereal blue hyacinth. Strong and full-bodied, yet fragile and dreamy… just like Lady Day. Sets a beautiful mood for holiday time and all year round.

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