All Things Bright and Beautiful
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.
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.
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,