It is well known that most odorants stimulate both the olfactory system and the trigeminal system. However, the overlap between the brain processes involved in each of these sensorial perceptions is still poorly documented. This study aims to compare fMRI brain activations while smelling two odorants of a similar perceived intensity and pleasantness: phenyl ethyl alcohol (a pure olfactory stimulus) and iso-amyl-acetate (a bimodal olfactory-trigeminal stimulus) in a homogeneous sample of 15 healthy, right-handed female subjects. The analysis deals with the contrasts of brain activation patterns between these two odorant conditions. The results showed a significant recruitment of the right insular cortex, and bilaterally in the cingulate in response to the trigeminal component. These findings are discussed in relation to the characteristics of these odorants compared with those tested in previous studies. Hum Brain Mapp, 2009. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.