Ophelia by James Heeley 2010

Guest Post by Madeleine

All Things Bright and Beautiful

Heeley Ophelia

Hello Junkies!

It’s Madeleine back again. I trust you have all had a wonderfully fragrant time since my last post and hope you enjoy this review of one of my all-time favourites.
Sometimes we need a little sunshine in our lives. As we’re still in the midst of winter here in Sydney, these words could never ring more true in my mind. When it’s cold outside, I sometimes pull out the traditional comfort scents to lift my spirits, but more often than not, my weapons of choice to combat dreary days are what I call my ‘joyful’ scents. These are the perfumes that herald balmy days ahead, of t-shirts and warmth, and are perfumes that just simply put a spring in my step. They are my olfactory mood enhancers. Fracas, with her brash, diva-esque tuberose never fails to make me smile, as does Le Parfum de Therese with her sun-tinged melon. But there’s a third perfume in my arsenal that just makes me feel happy and beautiful: the exquisite Heeley Ophelia.
Ophelia James Heeley for women
Conceived as an olfactory homage to Shakespeare’s tragic heroine in Hamlet, this perfume is an elegant, graceful and gauzy white floral. It is an outstandingly beautiful perfume and while it does have some love out there in the blogosphere, in my mind it remains a seriously underrated fragrance.
Ophelia’s notes are listed as: Green stems, Water lily, Jasmine, Yalang ylang, Tubereuse, White musk, Grey amber and Moss
Heeley’s website calls it “too pretty for words” and while I wholeheartedly agree with this statement, I shall nevertheless try to negate it and try to do the perfume some justice here.
Ophelia is a composition of radiant beauty, the scent of a summer’s day after a storm.  Dawn breaks and is greeted with the damp and dewy scent of green stems and leaves, verdant, deep  and lush. As the sun slowly starts to peek over the horizon, lilies and jasmine start to unfurl their petals and fill the air with their lovely delicate scent. The temperature continues to lift and tuberose starts to bloom, giving the composition a slightly carnal, creamy edge. Delicate musk tempers the heady white floral bouquet as the sun recedes and daylight fades. Ophelia also has an aquatic aspect, but here the watery notes give the green floral core a luminous quality and not the oceanic vibe that many perfumistas dread.
Ophelia is the scent of white gossamer; the wings of butterflies; the breath of an angel. It is profoundly delicate and graceful, but the depth of the green notes and the white florals mean it is decidedly a woman’s fragrance and not too girly girl or flimsy in nature.
The perfume’s pretty, feel-good vibe means some reviewers have been puzzled by the Shakespearian reference, given that the character of Ophelia in Hamlet is ultimately a tragic one. Torn between her love for Hamlet and her duty to her father, she goes mad and eventually drowns, which may or may not be an act of suicide.However, I think James Heeley composed this fragrance as an ode to Ophelia’s grace, her purity, and her beauty, not as a reflection on her darkness and despair.
Photo Stolen flavourscatering
Ophelia is truly romantic and would be a perfect wedding fragrance or for those in the throes of new love. It is also a perfume for those who love life. Ophelia just makes you feel good to be alive.
Have you tried Ophelia and do you love it as much as I do? What perfumes are your weapons against cold winter days? What are your favourite fragrances to lift your mood?
With much love till next month,
M x

15 comments on “Ophelia by James Heeley 2010

  1. ana says:

    Loved this post Madeleine! I am very curious about the entire Heeley range and I’m hoping I’ll be able to explore it soon!

    • Madeleine says:

      Hi ana,

      Thank you! Yes, the Heeley line is a bit of a sleeper and I must admit I haven’t tried many. Please report back if you try any.

      • ana says:

        I will. I’m going home this September, and I’m very pleased to say that Bucharest is actually a lot more advanced than Dublin in the fragrance game. There is a boutique there that stocks the Heeley range. Also Mona di Orio, MDCI, Amouage, SoOud, Parfumerie Generale, Frederic Malle and loads more. I’m gonna be kept very busy and I
        can’t wait.

  2. Undina says:

    Madeleine, nice to see you again.

    I’m not too familiar with Heeley yet but I tried Ophelia on a paper strip and liked it enough to remember. One day I will try it on the skin – thank you for the inspiration!

  3. Zubi d'Nova / Melissa de Blok says:

    Thanks for that. Hmph. <—— My wallet speaking.

    Ordering a sample now. I have tried one Heeley, wasn't intrigued. Gorgeous post!

  4. poodle says:

    This sounds lovely. I haven’t tried any Heeley’s yet. I’ll keep this in mind though. It’s been brutally hot and humid here. I’m actually craving a cold day. I love a good white floral any time of the year.

  5. laniersmith says:

    Wonderful post Madeline! It sounds ravishing. Perfect for a bride for sure…. but one who is not so attached to papa as Shakespeare’s heroine was.

  6. calvin says:

    Love how you describe this scent

  7. Dionne says:

    I do love the joyful scents, especially in dreary weather. Many of the BWF’s do not get along with my skin, but this sounds just lovely. I’ve heard really good things about the Heeley line in general, and must investigate.

  8. Madeleine says:

    Hi Dionne,

    Well I hope you like it if you get around to trying it. I wouldn’t say its a big white floral. It is very soft, but still has great depth, but its not loud or a sillage monster at all.


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