Ophélia (2009)

Ophélia by Heeley
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Ophélia is a perfume by Heeley for women and was released in 2009. The scent is floral-green. The production was apparently discontinued.

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James Heeley

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesGreen notes, Waterlily
Heart Notes Heart NotesJasmine, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang
Base Notes Base NotesAmbergris, Moss, White musk



7.0 (110 Ratings)


7.2 (79 Ratings)


6.2 (75 Ratings)


7.2 (70 Ratings)
Submitted by Seglein, last update on 16.10.2019
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5.0 7.5 8.0/10

1165 Reviews
There's beauty in simplicity
Heeley Ophelia is heaven-sent. There's something really simplistic yet beautiful about James Heeley's compositions. This glorious, Spring-appropriate white floral is no exception.

The moment I spritzed on Ophelia for the very first time, I felt myself smiling. It reminded me of a lush, green, Asian inspired garden with the soothing sound of trickling water. Fresh jasmine blooms, buttery tuberose and juicy orange pulp hit the skin in a way that can only be described as natural and alluring.

This fragrance has been composed with love, and is worth every penny. It's pure, delicate and romantic, just like the character of Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet. It shares some similarities to vintage Diorissimo, in that same fresh and feminine floral approach.

The drydown introduces a wonderful white musk accord, which balances the overall composition. At times it can smell a tad soapy, but most of the time it's smooth and inoffensive. Narciso Rodriguez fans will probably love this musky blend.

I've unfortunately discovered Ophelia in the Winter months, and now I'm really impatient for Spring. I seriously cannot wait to see how well this wears on a warm, sunny day. Ophelia would surely turn a few heads.

This white floral tends to be fresh rather than creamy, and after having smelt many white florals in the last few months, the fresher they are, the better they smell. Ophelia is olfactory perfection to my nose. It is really difficult to fault.
7.5 7.5 8.0/10

1239 Reviews
Helpful Review    5
Love is in the air...
I should begin this review with a full disclosure: I love tuberose. To some this may seem a disqualifier of me as a competent reviewer of tuberose perfumes. In reality, however, I do not necessarily or indiscriminately adore every single tuberose perfume in existence. Believe it or not, I am not all that keen on either Frédéric Malle CARNAL FLOWER (too vegetal: I am not a Venus flytrap!) or By Kilian BEYOND LOVE (too literal), although I do believe that both Dominique Ropion and Calice Becker are fine perfumers. I also was confounded by Honoré des Prés VAMP A NEW YORK, which sounded as though it would be right up my alley (I love Versace BLONDE, after all!), but somehow fell flat before my nose. Added to that, despite its all-natural pedigree, VAMP A NEW YORK smelled decidedly synthetic to me, in addition to seeming as rough-hewn as a kitchen-produced natural perfume. So you see: I am actually rather picky when it comes to tuberose perfumes!

More in line with my tastes is Heeley OPHELIA. This strikingly composed perfume opens somewhat sweetly (heliotrope? I thought, initially, that it was violet, but maybe there are a few ionones thrown in for good measure...), before the tuberose rears its lovely head. Creamy and lush, with a soupçon of soap in the drydown, this perfume is incredibly seductive without reaching brothel territory. I repeat: incredibly seductive. When was the last time a hooker seduced a client? I rest my case.

But I do agree with my fellow tuberose fanatic Couture Guru when he stresses the voluptuousness of OPHELIA. Imagine FRACAS inverted so that instead of being an extreme self-consumed egotist à la Norma Desmond (from Sunset Boulevard), she became a saint of sorts, whose charitable works consist in spreading free love far and wide--all in good conscience, of course.

That is who Ophelia is to me.
3 Replies
5.0 7.5 9.0/10

223 Reviews
Very helpful Review    6
Beautiful madness ...
Shakespeare's Ophelia is a tragic character, having gone quite mad after Hamlet's rejection. In her final speech she hands out flowers, the symbolism of which is muddy, having been lost in the progression of history. In the absence of stage direction from the bard himself, renditions of the role as commonly enacted at the present day, have been described as follows:

"Ophelia enters with her hair and whole figure entwined with chains of flowers; and in her thin outer skirt, she carries a mass of them. She advances slowly with the strange light of insanity in her eyes, sits down upon the floor, and plays with the flowers in a childish way, as she sings. Then she arises, distributes rosemary, pansies, fennel, columbine and rue, sings her last song, loiters a moment after her parting benediction, and runs out in a burst of mad laughter." (paraphrased from Wikipedia)

James Heeley's Ophelia takes this imagery to a more carnal level, centering this fragrance around the blatantly sensual note of Tuberose.

"Whereas for Hamlet madness is metaphysical, linked with culture, for Ophelia it is a product of the female body and female nature. . . . Ophelia's virginal and vacant white is contrasted with Hamlet's scholar's garb, his 'suits of solemn black.' Her flowers suggest the discordant double images of female sexuality as both innocent blossoming and whorish contamination; she is the 'green girl' of pastoral, the virginal 'Rose of May' and the sexually explicit madwoman who, in giving away her wild flowers and herbs, is symbolically deflowering herself. . . . The mad Ophelia's bawdy songs and verbal license, while they give her access to 'an entirely different range of experience' from what she is allowed as the dutiful daughter, seem to be her one sanctioned form of self-assertion as a woman, quickly followed, as if in retribution, by her death." (Elaine Showalter, "Representing Ophelia")

As a fragrance, Ophelia is many things to me but most of all a superb rendition of my favorite note in perfumery. Tuberose has such history ... The Victorians forbade young girls of inhaling the scent in the fear they might have a spontaneous orgasm! Roja Dove is sited as saying that Tuberose is really loose, the "harlot of perfumery". If this is the case then I have only one utterance ... 'bring on the harlotry!"

James Heeley has recognized the mesmerizing quality of this flower and softened its power to acceptable levels. This is quite a statement of love from me ... someone who likes their Tuberose bold and brave ... and intrusive!! Ophelia is soft, yet strident ... quite an enigma!!

I very seldom fall for a fragrance at first sniff. Ophelia has bewitched me ... and I MUST have her!!
3 Replies

484 Reviews
Helpful Review    3
Well composed enough to be discussed seriously among fumeheads. Pretty enough to be worn without discussion or too much thought.
The topnotes of Ophelia give that fullness of spring that makes you crave summer. Then it gives you that, too!

The initial notes of muguet and jasmine and their bursting-at-the-seems fresh spring sweetness are underlined by the watery crispness these early flowers of the season have. Moving into its heart, Ophelia sheds a bit of green and takes on early summer in all its white floral beauty. Tuberose and ylang ylang are a leisurely indulgence compared to spring’s exuberance and take Ophelia into the sultry, dreamy phase with a bit of underbelly showing thanks to the indoles.

Fortunately, spring to early summer is the timeframe. None of the prelude to nostalgia that late summer implies. Ophelia’s heart and base give that heightened feel of the endless potential of summer. The wonderful trick here is that Ophelia remains the white/green bouquet composed of all its elements. Even in ‘summer’ mode, the spring flowers remain, if in the background.

And then we have the lily. I haven’t seen anyone else note this, but a watery-ambery, raspy lily not unlike the one in DK Gold comes along in the basenotes to take a soft-handed lead. Its watery note suddenly seems like the logical outcome of all the flowers that have preceded it. Here, I assume, is the full Ophelia of Hamlet reference: handing out flowers, then winding up in the water.

I can find what I like in most perfume genres fairly easily. Chypres, orientals, leathers. But sometimes a boy just can’t find a satisfying, gorgeous, huge, white floral. Problem solved.

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