What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Cary based perfumery allows you to create your own signature fragrance

Posted May 8, 2018 8:12 a.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 11:16 a.m. EDT


— Few would guess that nestled in the heart of downtown Cary lies Escentuelle, a unique concept that allows clientele to create their own unique fragrance with the guidance of master perfumer and owner Carolyn Hassett.

Though mostly self-taught, she’s studied with master perfumers in Grasse, France, the fragrance capital of the world. And you don’t have to go alone! Escentuelle’s unique business model could be a great destination for your next Triangle girls’ night out, date night or much owed “me” time.

It’s clear from meeting Hassett that this is not just a job to her –– it’s her passion. “Our olfactive sense is the only sense that’s linked directly to the limbic system, so it prompts an emotional reaction before an intellectual one,” she says.

She calls herself a “scent artist,” a term she coined when making the connection between her love for fragrances and her past as a musician. “Composing a scent is very much like composing a song.”


Since then, she’s spent 20 years of her life dedicated to the craft.

Utilizing Galimar fragrances, an expertly-crafted line of fragrance blends hailing straight from the fragrance capital of the world, Escentuelle offers a station that holds over 120 scents to craft your own unique perfume. More formally known as a “fragrance organ,” it’s divided into three tiers that each represent the different levels of your perfume: the base, “heart” (otherwise known as the middle) and top notes.


Hassett likens the base notes of the fragrance to the roots of a tree, or the foundation of your creation, and the top notes are like the leaves, which capture your attention and “should be as bright and cheery as possible.”

All of Escentuelle’s fragrances and body care are cruelty-free. Customers’ scent formulations are saved and recorded, so you can conveniently refill any time. If you’re sensitive to synthetic fragrances, they also offer essential oil based scents that can be used on your skin or in an oil diffuser. She cautions that with essential oils, you may have to reapply more often.

For quick local gift ideas, Escentuelle offers premade bestselling fragrances and body care that Hassett has developed. Private sessions (for one or two people) are $140 plus tax per person, and each guest will receive a 1.7 oz. fragrance that they created.

The fragrance studio recently moved into the Gather building, where Carolyn says, “sessions will have a much more intimate setting,” but larger parties of five or more can be scheduled at $50 per person for a .5 oz. bottle in Gather’s classroom space on an appointment only basis.

Shopping tip: Use code "OUTANDABOUT" for $20 off a Private Custom Fragrance Session or Gift Certificate.

Perfume tip: Carolyn recommends using an unscented lotion or jojoba oil on the places you’ll be applying your fragrance. For extra longevity, try layering with a shower gel, lotion and fragrances in scents that match!

If you’re interested in checking out Escentuelle, be sure to visit their new location at Cary’s Gather building at 417 Kildaire Farm Road.