The smell (or flavor) of natural vanilla is a mixture of about 200 different compounds. However, vanillin is the most prominent one, and has the chemical formula C8H8O3.
While natural sources for vanilla are still used, over 95% percent of vanilla flavoring today comes from synthetic sources, and most people tend to prefer it over natural vanilla. About 75% of all vanilla flavoring is used by the ice cream industry. Vanilla flavoring is also used in other food and beverage products such as Coca-Cola. Vanillin is also used in the chemical syntheses for some drugs, such as L-dopa for Parkinson's disease, and papaverin, a heart drug.