Best place to savor the sweet smell of American capitalism - 2007
The firm that would eventually become the legendary apothecary Caswell-Massey opened its quaint colonial doors in Rhode Island in 1752 (the New York branch began trading in 1833), making it one of the country's older extant retail establishments. That's probably all kinds of fascinating to economists and their ilk, but for the rest of us, it's all about the product: first and foremost, the wondrous scent Number Six (1752), beloved by President George Washington, who gifted his chum the Marquis de Lafayette with it after the American War of Independence; White Rose (1790), the personal favorite of Dolley Madison; and the upstart Newport (1890), popular with sporty types of the Gilded Age; assorted high-quality emollients and unguents, including luscious soaps (oh, the Roger & Gallet Vetyver!), bath products, and floral waters of various sorts; plus a full range of men's and women's grooming products and accessories made by the venerated firm itself or to its exacting specifications. Though the entire line is available online these days, academics as well as tourists will want to bask in the general aura of bourgeois comfort still so palpable at Caswell-Massey's bustling flagship store, opened in 1926.