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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Randomly Roaming

By Tom

This weekend I was invited to go to La Jolla to see a play by a friend of a friend called "33 Variations", which was having its West Coast premiere at the La Jolla Playhouse. It's a seriously great play, and if you have a chance to see it, do so. That's not the focus of this rather meandering post, but it sets up the reason that we were inspired to stop into South Coast Plaza on the way home. South Coast Plaza is in Orange County ( I refuse to call it "The O.C.") and has stores ranging from Sears to Louis Vuitton. Tourists from Japan make it a destination; the price of the yen is such that luxury goods are cheaper in the US, the sales tax in the county is lower and one can fly right into John Wayne airport and dash over.

They also have one of the best Nordstroms I've ever been in: it's giant and the perfume department is a fever dream of items that you won't find anywhere else. Carons that I thought I'd need to go to France to get are jumbled on the counter with Annick Goutal, all there to spritz with abandon. The head spins. One of the things they had which I have tried and tried to convince myself it good on me is Guerlain's Jicky. It should suit me down to the ground: cold citrus opening and warm vanilla musk drydown, right?? Sadly, whatever I do to it is not pretty: my skin just seems to club it into submission. Drat it. For those of you on whom it's gorgeous, the extremely nice SA mentioned that they have three bottles left of the old-formula pure perfume in the beautiful bottle with the gorgeous green presentation box. The resentation alone makes $300 seem reasonable, especially with some of the newer releases these days. If you are inclined, please call Linda Lieb at (714) 549 8300 extension 1171. Tell her the man in the yellow t-shirt sent you, and he apologises for not buying.

Also at Nordstom is Kiehls, with their eponymous musk scent. I've been sniffing it on and off for a long time trying to decide once and for all if it's an acceptable substitute for the hard-to-get Muscs Koublai Khan. I've decided that (since I have a bottle of MKK stashed yet, and have people in Europe who still speak to me) that it's not. It's very nice, mind you; a sensuous musk with a bit of powder in the drydown. However, in that "you can't keep them down on the farm when they've seen Paree" way, I just find it a little lacking. It seems a little blunter, a little less thought out. The perfume equivalent of ordering the Bette and Joan version of "Baby Jane" and getting the version with the Redgraves. Or, in a less gay analogy, it's hoping to find your blind date looks like Dennis Quaid and finding that he looks like Randy. Nothing wrong with Randy or the Redgraves, but when you've seen Dennis circa 1988 with his shirt off or Bette serve Joan a dead rat for her din-dins substitutions, no matter how nice, just don't cut it. Of course Kiehls is also a quarter the price of the Lutens, and you don't have to go to Paris to get it, so there's something to be said for that.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Tom! Great post! I was Jicky devirginized with a fellow Basenoter in Florida when I was visiting. We met at the Tampa International Plaza for the first time and had a big sniff fest which was so fun! Jicky just shocked the hell out of me, and I tried the EdT. It seemed cheesy on my skin, with this round vanilla quality that was just, well, very strange. That's the best way I can put it. My friend told me the other versions are a different story, but I'll have to be the judge of that some day. I've only seen the Crawford version of Baby Jane and frankly, I don't want to know that another version exists :)


2:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

Estrange. I just saw Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? on Sunday night for the first time ever in my heretofore wasted life and I just reviewed Kiehl's Original Musk. Cue Twilight Zone theme. Jicky is hard for me too though I do like the parfum. By the way, that photo of Bette looks a lot like my beloved Gena Rowlands. Freaky.

2:22 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom, I adore Nordstrom anyway, and that one sounds like the Mother Ship! I hope I get down there someday to shop at the High Holy Shrine. ;-)

I can't do Jicky either - it's just weird somehow, and I don't really understand it. Then again I am not much of a Guerlain girl, though I adore some few of them.

(I saw that movie when I was a kid and much too young to get it - it scared the bloody hell out of me!)

2:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tell you, *I'm* the Big Easy when it comes to Denny circa '88, or at any time, actually.

Yes, I know I'm the big easy anyways... :-P

4:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Gail S said...

Jicky is gorgeous on me!!! When I wear it, people follow me to ask what I'm wearing :) And aren't they surprised to find out that it's been around for over 100 years!

That Nordstrom's in South Coast Plaza IS fun, isn't it? I hadn't expected to be able to try so many Caron's on skin without buying them first (or at least samples). Too bad they all hated me.....

10:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...


The next time that you go to La Jolla there is a perfume store on Girard that is a perfumista's wet dream (Without the nice SA though, with the prices come a bit of snottiness!)

Was just there and found all kinds of things including my beloved Bal a Versailles in all formulations!

i will have to check out this Nordstroms though next time I go!

10:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Divina said...

Thank you for the lowdown on Kiel's Musk, it's one I've been curious about forever and I don't think it can be found here in Europe. (please someone correct me if I am wrong) About Jicky... god, this one I love so much when it becomes pure animal on my skin...but unfortunately it is not always so. When it is just tame (yet very interesting lavender) it becomes a big like, but not big enough to buy, although I still consider it from time to time. What can I say, I trully love Jicky, just wish the animal within would decide to stay, instead of playing peek-a-boo with me.


11:18 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Maybe I should try the pure perfume version? Dunno.

The Redgrave Baby Jane is worth seeing.


12:39 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I just read that! Cah-razy!

12:40 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


The whole mall is worth a side trip. It's just so bizarre; the high-end stuff is there, but there's also a Sears, a reminder of the time when the place was just the local mall.

It is a fabulous Nordstroms and the Neimas is really nice too.

12:42 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


We'd ahve to share.

Wait you have a husband! That makes Dennis all mine! mine I tell you!

Why is my word verification "uholip"?

12:44 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


i so wanted Jicky to do that one me! I wanted people to ask me and to able to whisper conspiritorially "jzheeckee"

but no. :-(

12:49 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Thanks! I will remember that!

This time we had two 15 year olds, one girl and one buy. I'm not sure that would have worked out for the best..

12:51 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

divina- that's exactly what I wanted to have happen and it didn't. Grrr..

12:56 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

is that Chaya's photo in the NYTimes?

2:23 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Tom.
I'm in a Guerlain loving phase at the moment, but Jicky is the one I haven't made up my mind about yet because I want to try all the different concentrations.
Thanks for the picture of Bette and Joan, it reminded me of the funniest movie trivia I've ever heard (the one about the color scheme).
A picture of Dennis with his shirt off would have been nice, too. I have a feeling Jicky must smell good on him...

2:58 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...


you have Columbina to thank for the photo- she chose it, not I.
I could list many things that would smell good on Mr. Quaid, but not in the comments of a family blog..

4:01 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


It sounds like you had a lot of fun. First beautiful La Jolla and then South Coast Plaza. Did you try any other perfumes? The Chanel store is next door to Nordstrom, right? I want to go there and smell the new Sycamore.
I love that Nordstrom. I have bought beautiful perfumes there and the SAs are nice and knowledgeable.
I wish Jicky suited me but it just smells horrible on me. I have tried to like it several times. It has been a few years so maybe I will give it another try.
I have this plan of taking a vacation day from work in the middle of the week and spend the day at SCP. Anyone care to join me?

5:16 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

sadly we had a restive teen who had to get back to his parents house for a late lunch they were holding for him, otherwise I would have explored more.

I think my work would shoot me at this point if I took a mid-week trip off, otherwise I would so go with you!

7:20 PM EDT  
Blogger ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

::giggles:: I love your humor Tom! I'm right there with you. I have been to South Coast Plaza but never had the pleasure to shop at Nordstrom there. Sounds divine! I'm so jealous that you're able to sniff with abandon the Carons and Guerlains. Not so here, unfortunately.

7:17 PM EDT  
Blogger truebluedukefan said...

Tom, enjoyed your post. You are responsible for reuniting me with two of my fragrances loves from the 70s. I had been looking for a 1 oz. Jicky parfum for quite some time. After reading your post, I called the Nordstrom in Orange County. The most helpful SA is sending me their last bottle. If they had three when you were recently there, you are single-handedly responsible for a run on this 100 year old classic. The SA said that shipping on additional items was free, so I ordered a 1 oz. Mitsouko parfum. Thanks for your tip. I look forward to visiting this Nordstrom when I'm next in California. By the way, I have some Kiehl's Musk and have found it rather boring. Looking forward to my Jicky - a favorite of Jacqueline Kennedy, Sean Connery, Brigette Bardot, and Colette.

5:37 PM EDT  

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