Back in the day, there was none of this spritzing business with a man's scent. The ritual was modest and succinct: Shake a few drops in your hands, pat your face or neck, and be on with our day. The Motley, a three-year-old, Silver Lake-based men's grooming e-tailer, hopes to revive that ethos with the launch of its first cologne, a subtle splash-on, modestly dubbed Atlas.
The benefits of using a splash cologne over a spray may seem slight, but they're meaningful. Because it's applied directly to the skin, the fragrance unfurls at a steady pace. Sprays, on the other hand, tend to dissipate and burst, which skews scents towards their brighter, uppermost notes. This means a splash actually gives off a truer realization of the intended scent notes, and, when applied correctly, doesn't result in wagon-training your odor wherever you walk, as over-zealous sprayers often do.
The cologne comes in a travel-friendly amber matchstick bottle that's a self-conscious throwback to the bygone era of apothecaries. As befits a scent named after maps, Atlas contains a heady list of earthy, worldly notes – Italian bergamot, Algerian Atlas Cedar, Indian cardamom and cloves, North American Oakmoss, Amber musk, leather – but it all comes together in a distinctly clean scent.
In an added old-timey touch, The Motley asks for a name to personalize the tin container before shipping it out, making Atlas a great gift item as well. [$45/oz; themotley.com]