NYC Day Two — Eyes ‘n JARS

Let me start out by saying (this is Patty) how great it has been to meet March and spend time zipping around NYC. She is every bit as funny and warm and lovely in person as she is in writing.  (Yeah, and you’re a complete slice of heaven too — this has been so much fun!  I will go sniff with you anywhere, anytime.  Also, I added bits to this post, so if it sounds a little disjointed and varied in tone, it’s my fault — March.)

Today we drug my mom and sister and niece along with us — they are in NYC as well, visiting — and they were just troopers the whole day.

A word to those that haven’t been to NYC and worry about getting around, we plunged into the subway system and used that to get around all day. It’s not scary or hard.  Get a good subway map, watch the signs for the stops, and it is the fastest way to get anywhere in NYC… and cheap!

Bergdorf was our first stop on the second day. This was the biggie, and we wanted to leave lots of time for the Guerlain boutique and JAR.  We sniffed around and found lots of interesting things.  The new Prada for Men is really good, and I despise the Prada for women. My mom wound up buying that one, and she hasn’t bought a bottle of perfume in probably 20 years or more.  The JAR…  I won’t give details on that now because we both want to write much more extensively and thoughtfully about them, and trying to dash that off in an evening in a hotel room just won’t do them justice.  All I will say is they blew my socks off. Not in a “I love this and must have it” kind of way, but in a “What in the world is that, and why is it keeping my attention for so long” kind of way.  Franz, who shows you the JAR perfumes, was just a doll — charming and funny, and patient with five people sniffing and reacting in very different ways to each perfume.  If you are ever in NYC, you have to visit the JAR boutique and sniff these. Buying one may or may not happen, and I’m still undecided on about three of them, but smelling them is essential to your perfume education.  By the way, when we asked Christopher Brosius yesterday what he thought we should be sure not to miss, the only one he talked about was JAR.

The rest of Bergdorf was wonderful. We have to talk about the customer service briefly because it has a point later on. Tom in the perfume section and Franz at JAR were just spectacularly friendly and helpful.  Tom gave my family tips on what to go see, gave them detailed directions on how to get there, even gave them his phone number in case they got lost.  There was also a lady at Cle de Peau who did March’s eyes (didn’t get her name) who was wonderful at customer service.  That unobtrusive but helpfully nearby customer service they displayed was perfect and exactly what I love when I shop.  Bergdorf’s also has a great little cafe that we ate lunch at that was outstanding for service and just nice, light fare that was filling, but not overly so.  Bergdorf gets the highest marks on the fun factor and customer service, it was just excellent.  We smelled the new Badgley Mischka, which bears further investigation (is it Special Enough?) and the stupidly-named Fable from the Hope Diamond Collection (?), which we have to say smelled darn good.  Their Guerlain section is outstanding — they have parfum-strength testers and March very much enjoyed the Habit Rouge.  The Cherry Blossom parfum is sparkly going on, but unfortunately disappeared quickly.

Next was Barney’s.  We’re not going into a lot of detail on the perfumes we smelled there since we got a little sidetracked by makeup, but, again, with one exception, the customer service was spot-on perfect. The perfume SAs really know their stuff — given examples of three or four fragrances we each liked, they proceeded to select additional things to try that were absolutely right.  March even picked up a bottle of Comme des Garcons Palisander from the Red Series, which is really terrific: notes are cedar, chili and myrrh, and it’s a sweet-spicy-woody fragrance that stands out from the crowd.   March settled on Ginger Ciao and U4EAH (gak!) as her favorite Yoshes.  Oh, yes — and she had her eyes done twice more in Barney’s, the second time by a Chantecaille SA who used more than 20 different products on her face (after being told, just the eyes), along with persuasive language like, When you are putting this on, and After you apply this… which would have been the big ka-ching! ka-ching! in sales (we’re guessing at least $1000) if only March had caved and handed over her MasterCard to the nice lady.  Which she didn’t.

the scream.jpgAfter Barney’s, we loaded into the subway again and headed downtown to Aedes.  It was hot, the subway stop was melting our faces off, but we had to go.  Now, I know it was late in the day and we were tired and hot and they were tired and hot, but we can’t think of a store we’ve been in for many years where we felt more unwelcome. During the half-hour we were there they said eight words to us: “Hello,” and “Let me know if you need anything.”  Yes, we understand the respectful-distance-yet-attentive approach.  This was not that vibe. This was more the you’re-breathing-our-air vibe.  They seemed pretty sure we weren’t going to buy anything.  And you know what?  They must be psychic, because they were absolutely right, even though the past 24 hours (and the bags from Bergdorf and Barneys we were carrying) showed the five of us were ready, willing and able to do some damage.  And that’s all we have to say about that.

  • tmp00 says:

    Wow. I’m so sad about Aedes. I go to New York every year and I stay in the Village. I’d bever been, and it looks like there’s no reason to do so now. Sad.

  • March says:

    VeronicaV — so glad to hear about your sample purchases! I know, when I emailed the store with a couple of questions prior to our visit, he answered them! I didn’t realize the Musk Reinvention was so new. I hope you’re pleased with it. Tossing in a sample sounds like precisely the sort of thing CB would do.

  • March says:

    Lynne — actually, with a couple of exceptions, we’d already sniffed most of what they had. I’ve ordered from them before, but I’m sufficiently chafed that I won’t be back.

  • March says:

    V-Ron — I could have spent the day in the Guerlain area. The month. Moved in. Whatever.

  • March says:

    Katie — the JARs were, obviously, very interesting. Part of what was interesting to me was how much fun it turned out to be sniffing them. We were yukking it up in there.

  • VeronicaV says:

    Hey, on a happy note, I finally got around to ordering samples of some CB I Hate Perfumes frags and I’m very pleased with Mr. Brosius’ customer service.

    I sent an email asking about the Musk Reinvention that March mentioned, and Christopher responded the very next day. The Musk isn’t yet on his site, but it won’t be long till samples are available for order. I had asked if it was possible to get a sample and he went ahead and added one to my order. (Gosh, I hope he doesn’t mind too much that I mention this.) He also said that his new jasmine frag might be ready next month.

    Very nice man and generous with his time.


  • Lynne says:

    I`m so sorry that you were snubbed at Aedes, I think I can find somewhere else to buy, they just lost $2,000 plus per year. There is no excuse! Someone who cares should send a link of all this to them,,,,sorry, I just don`t care enough!

  • Veronica says:

    Guerlain. Parfum-strength testers. Bergdorf’s. Copy that, good buddy.

    Keep the shiny side up and the greasy side down. Catch you on the flip-flop. 88’s!

  • Katie says:

    Ooof, not good sounding about the Aedes experience, at all!

    I’m on pins and needles to hear about your JAR impressions, though! Really looking forward to that post!:x

  • Patty says:

    HOpe, I am so sorry! I love the PdE, I hope you were able to swap it away for something that worked far better for you!

  • Patty says:

    Dusan, we were just horrible about taking pictures. I forgot my camera, and my phone has a camera in it, and I just took the one. How pathetic am I?

  • Patty says:

    R, I know, made me sad too, but they had so many great experiences with New Yorkers, that really didn’t even phase them. March and I were much more singed about it. 🙂

  • HopeB says:

    I’ve never been to Aedes in NYC, but I did order from them and the CS was horrible! Plus, it was an unsniffed and subsequently, unloved, Passage d’Enfer. So, that was my one and only Aedes order.

  • Patty says:

    Hey, bb, I don’t get it either. But other than that one experience, everything else has really been just wonderful. I’m a huge CB fan now, and I just hadn’t gotten to them yet, but they are so well worth investigating.

  • Patty says:

    Kuri, do JAR, you must, and you can’t break anything, they don’t give you anything to break. 🙂 And they are just funny and wonderful, don’t let the atmosphere and surroundings put you off.

  • Patty says:

    Justine, I am hoping that Aedes was a fluke, but I have heard of other people simply being ignored before. You can smell about everything they have at Tak and Bergdorf and Barney’s for good measure, if you have time, and they are just in a line within about four blocks of each other. So limited time, I’d hit those three, you will love them.

  • Patty says:

    Chaya, JAR is the initials of the perfumer’s name, Joel Arthur Rosenthal.

  • Patty says:

    bianca, that is what was so disturbing, there was NO ONE else in the store but us and them. They weren’t busy or distracted with other customers, which I would totally understand. NOBODY, they just flat-out could not be bothered at all. It takes a lot of disinterest to manage to not talk perfume with perfume nuts. I didn’t even get around to smelling the Shalini, and after about 15 minutes, I was just ready to go.

  • Patty says:

    Wow, Cait, I’m glad to hear it wasn’t just us. I mean, we certainly don’t look like NYC uptown chic Manhattanites, just your normal suburban or midwest or (for me) western casual. For me, it would bother me a lot if I thought that was the reason we got no interest. We were all packing bags from Barney’s or Bergdorf or somewhere else, and it could not have been because they didn’t think we weren’t buyers.

    So odd.

  • Patty says:

    Ina, yes, you must go sniff it. You may not love it, but it is way more interesting than the Prada for women, which was a patchouli mess on me.

    I think a mini sniffa in NYC, Chicago, L.A. or D.C. sounds like heaven. Perfume Pals all in one spot? Nose wrinkling and sighing, it would just be too much fun.

  • Patty says:

    G — I was pretty shocked at Aedes, it just never even occurred to me that with an empty store that we would just be ignored almost completely. I’ve had a less than great experience one time with a website order — not terrible, just something that was out of stock that I had to inquire when it would ship, but it was still okay, nothing to complain about.

  • Patty says:

    Trinity, it has been just fabulous. And that Prada Pour Homme makes up for the other ones they’ve done. I did wind up with the new Badgley Mischka as well. Hated that fruity top, but once that blew off, it has been a slice, I think… nose could have been just weary. If so, then I’ve got an expensive mistake. 🙂

  • Patty says:

    E — you just have to go, truly. I mean, I think you can see about everything here in other large cities, except for the JAR and the Guerlain boutique and Caron (which we didn’t go to for fear March would collapse from fright), but it’s so much more fun to go out sniffing with a great perfume friend.

    We have had a blast.

  • Dusan says:

    Aww, March liked the Habit Rouge. I’m so proud of you 😉
    Patty, I refuse to believe you*despise* Prada. But whhhy, it’s not thaat bad. And surely you two must know that I’m Dying to try the Pour Homme. Envious.
    Make sure you take plenty of photos for a photo gallery you might wanna post here, we’d all love that. Or perhaps a video? Would the title “Patty and March Do NY” be too obscene? :=))
    luv ya
    Oh and, screw them Aedes people.

  • violetnoir says:

    Oh dear! Patty, I am so sad about the CS at Aedes. Whenever I call them, I try to talk with Miguel, who is always a doll. Shame on them for being so rude to you all, especially with your mom, sister and niece in tow. New Yorkers are the best, so I hope that encounter did not taint their opinion of the folks there.

    But to brighter things: Bergdorfs is pretty dern amazing, isn’t it? I CANNOT wait to hear about the JARs. My fingers and toesies are just tingling with anticipation! ;;)

    And, even though I think Barneys takes terrible care of the clothes they sell (I have actually spotted dirt and stains on those high-priced babies!), their SAs are nice, too.

    Ooh…I can’t wait for more NYC posts!

    Hugs and love to all of you fabulous women!

  • BBliss says:

    I think Aedes made a pretty big mistake yesterday…”you’re-breathing-our-air-vibe” is spot-on and curiously more and more boutiques seem to have this attitude. Curious, because you would think smaller, niche stores would cater MORE to the their clientele. That used to be the case…now it’s like a stand-off between the pretentious owners/sales staff and the pretentious customers who also omit a “you’re-breathing-my-air-and-BTW-you-also-stink” vibe. It is like they try and one-up each other. Now, I just usually turn around and leave because who truly has time for that? I’d rather spend my money elsewhere. I’m glad you all did, too! Rant over – sorry!

    I can’t wait until all the wonderful stories and bits and pieces of the trip come floating to the top of the blog! Very intrigued by CB and JAR who I simply wasn’t interested in before – too weird, too complicated – so thank you! And safe trips back!:x

  • kuri says:

    CB I Hate Perfumes and Bergdorf are at the top of my list then! Hopefully my friend will be willing to go. I don’t think I’d dare visit JAR though. What if I broke something?!

  • Justine says:

    I’m going to NY in Sept. with my husband, which means I get exactly one afternoon for sniffing, and that must be sandwiched between a
    some kind of beer pub for lunch (my idea, trying to sweeten the pot for the sniffing) and something funky and ethinic for dinner so he has something to look forward to. Can you tell I had to talk him into this idea? It’ll make me SOO happy I told him and he finally caved.

    Aedes was going to be my first stop, since they have such a large selection, but now I’m scared. Rude CS will pretty much put an end to my husbands patience and whoosh, there goes the afternoon.

  • chaya ruchama says:

    Please refresh my memory [damn these brain farts!]- what does JAR stand for?

  • Bianca says:

    thats so weird that you had a bad experience at Aedes. Even when I don’t buy anything they’re nothing but lovely to me, and will make up samples of things I like. Not to mention the 15 or so samples they threw in when I did buy something. Were they busy?

  • cait says:

    I wish I had been there! Sounds great. I have had the same experience at Aedes. I have bought things through the mail several times from them but I have to say that neither mail nor in person yields good CS.
    Oh well!

    Good thing BG and Barney’s were such a score.

  • Ina says:

    Prada pour Homme is good, huh? Must go find it here. Sounds like you’re having a blast! We should do a mini fragrance blogger sniffa in NYC!! Can you imagine all the fun? I’m dizzy just thinking about it. :d

  • greeneyes says:

    Oh, I also hate Prada for women! Bleh.

    I hate to hear that about Aedes. They have been so kind over email and on the phone, but your experience might make me think twice about making that stop a priority if I ever get to NYC.

  • trinity says:

    Duh, meant to say I HATE the women’s version of Prada. Lordy, where is my coffee?

  • trinity says:

    Oh, Patty, sounds like a dream trip so far! I am so jealous.
    So far I have only sniffed the Prada pour Homme in a magazine strip, but that was wonderful. I am going to get a bottle soon, and hubby MIGHT get to wear it if he’s lucky. I am not big into wearing men’s scents, but Armani Code for men is much better for me than the women’s version, so maybe the same will be the case for Prada. BTW, I have the women’s version in this too!

    Glad CS is alive and well in SOME places, after all, without customers, stores couldn’t stay open. I have heard raves about Aedes, but also a few bad rants. Can’t explain the bad behavior on their part.

    Have a great day and try to stay cool!

  • Elle says:

    Am loving getting to vicariously enjoy my idea of a perfect trip w/ you guys! BG cs has always been fab – can’t wait to hear more about what you think of the JAR scents. Interesting about the Fable – I hadn’t even heard of it. Wow, quite a contrast between cs at BG (and CS) and Aedes. Their loss.