Fragrances at Caswell-Massey. Mazza Gallerie, 5300 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 362-5122.

Originally, apothecaries were relied on for the curatives and medicinal products they provided, but Caswell-Massey, one of this country's oldest apothecaries, has also become celebrated for the fragrances it's developed over the past 226 years. At Caswell-Massey's Washington store the well-established tradition of being the "oldest perfumers in America" continues. The scents that strike you immediately upon entering the store are available in several forms, including soaps and lotions. But the real excitement is in discovering the more than 75 varieties of dried herbs that you can mix in any combinations to create your own sachets and potpourris (some can also be used as cooking accents). For fragrances that endure there are the pure fragrant oils of which perfumes are made. Here you can choose from 78 pure essences, sold by a minimum of a half-ounce and costing from $1.35 for orange oil to $21.60 for narcissus. The store will work with you (by appointment) to create your own distinctive perfume, using any combination of oils, or you can buy the oils to alter the fragrance of a cologne, shaving lotion, body oil or facial cream. Caswell-Massey also offers its own heritage of colognes and toilet waters, including Fragrance No. 6, originally made for George Washington, and White Rose, preferred by Dolley Madison. the middle of his Alexandria efficiency, but the effect is still that o