Mechanisms preventing interspecific pollination are important in closely related plant species, in particular when post-zygotic barriers are weak or absent. We investigated the role of floral odour in reproductive isolation between the two closely related species Silene latifolia and S. dioica. First, we tested whether floral odour composition and emission differed between the species. We found significant odour differences, but contrary to expectations, both species showed a rhythmic emission of the same compounds between day and night. Second, in a field experiment, odour of the two species was made more similar by applying phenylacetaldehyde to flowers. This manipulation led to higher pollen-analogue transfer between species, revealing that floral odour differences are important for maintaining reproductive isolation. We conclude that differences in single key compounds can reduce pollen transfer across species boundaries by pollinators and demonstrate that odour differences are an important component of premating floral isolation between closely related plant species.