Yes, Rare Essences closed, but I don't know for sure when.
I lived in San Francisco for eight years, and your report reinforces something I've said many times in this forum: fragrance shopping in San Francisco leaves a lot to be desired. Your experience at Neiman's is par for the course. I have never had a positive experience in shopping there.
Nordstorm is hit-or-miss. Just before I left the city, it seemed they were improving.
Saks is only slightly better, but I find I have a better experience if I go in knowing exactly what I'm looking for.
I don't ask for much, just courtesy and helpfulness.
Did you try visiting Jacqueline's in Union Square?