This paper reports on the occurrence, biosynthesis, metabolism, biological and toxicological profile, and assessment of the authenticity of linalool. The main biological properties of linalool – sedative, anxiolytic, analgesic, anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, local anaesthetic – are discussed in terms of the molecule's chirality influence, the mechanisms of activity and type of study (in vitro, in vivo, clinical studies). Also, there is a discussion of the recent data on the skin sensitizing potential of linalool based on numerous scientific studies which have been performed in the last few years. Comments of the authenticity assessment of linalool are made considering the limitations imposed by the chemical structure, vegetal matrix or processing methods, but also from the perspective of the powerful and sophisticated analytical techniques available today (GC-C-IRMS, enantio-MDGC coupled to GC-C-IRMS, SNIF-NMR). Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.