Avant-GardeAvant Garde (2006)

Avant-Garde / Avant Garde by M. Micallef
Bottle Design Martine Micallef
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Avant-Garde is a perfume by M. Micallef for women and men and was released in 2006. The scent is spicy. It is still in production.

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Geoffrey Nejman

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesBergamot, Grapefruit, Citruses
Heart Notes Heart NotesCocoa bean, Tobacco, Frankincense
Base Notes Base NotesAmbergris, Russian leather, Tonka bean



7.4 (116 Ratings)


6.9 (88 Ratings)


5.9 (87 Ratings)


7.3 (90 Ratings)
Submitted by DeGe53, last update on 24.10.2019.
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Light heat
The first thing you can notice is an intense sweet and pleasantly fruity note, which brings something refreshing and is due to the grapefruit.

At the same time a fine herbaceous nuance untemalt the grapefruit to a beautiful extent, which in my opinion is responsible for the fact that the prelude gets a certain soft aura and from the bergamot,

In the background you can see a very delicate, greenish citric nuance, which rounds off the opening wonderfully and I suspect lime here.

This constellation is perceptible on my skin for 15 minutes before the heart note unfolds.

The grapefruit is much more dimmed, but still perceptible, and combines with a deep and dark, very light oily gourmand chocolaty note, which gives the fragrance a wonderful warmth and comes from the cocoa bean.

At the same time, the cocoa bean is enveloped in a light, resinous note, which is responsible for the fact that the heart note is not heavy, but brings with it a certain lightness and comes from incense.

Unfortunately I could not perceive tobacco explicitly, however it is the case that Avant - Garde appears quite delicately spicy, pleasantly dense and full and this characteristic can originate from tobacco
The heart note is perceptible on my skin for 3 hours before the base asserts itself.

The base lets a very soft and at the same time angular note appear, which smells like fine dark brown leather to me
A little later the Russian leather becomes a little softer, more supple, you could say, and thanks to the tonka bean it gets a nice powdery almond breeze, which completely removes the Russian leather after the above mentioned little while and ensures a pleasant finish.

Unfortunately I couldn't perceive Ambra, but I can imagine very well that this component was used for completion.

In total, the fragrance lasts 7.5 hours on my skin.

The Sillage is conceived from the outset in such a way that one is perceived only 5 cm above the skin and this is maintained also 2.5 hours in such a way, before it becomes unfortunately then very close.

I would like to express my sincere thanks to our perfume "R3mt9" for the miniature.
2 Replies
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220 Reviews
Greatly helpful Review    5
Smarter than the crowd pleaser
If a rather conservative house like Micallef names one of its fragrances “Avant Garde”, one may become curious!

And indeed, this fragrance is something one does not find every day. At the core of it, there is a chocolate-like note which qualifies this fragrance as a gourmand. It is set against a dark, masculine background of tobacco and slightly smoky notes. However, the charm of Avant Garde comes from the dialogue of the chocolate with fresh, almost aquatic hints. These can be found mainly in the top and the heart. They fade away slowly and give way to a more straightforward “smoky” and ambery chocolate.

The fresh notes, however, are what interest me the most. They define all the charm of this beautiful fragrance. There are discreet citruses in the head notes. I get very vague hints of something like cucumber or melon, but there is also a slight hint of saltiness or even iodine – the note that was so soundly fathomed in Annick Goutal's Vétiver. Additionally to the notes stated here and on the Micallef site, First-in-Fragrance also denominates orris and nymphea in the top.

Now, if your expectation of an avant garde perfume is weird experiments with hyper-modern molecules, Avant Garde will disappoint you. This kind of avant-gardism is rather tamed down, very discreet, and it cannot deny that it is deeply rooted in traditional craftsmanship and artistry. The ingredients may not be hyper-modern, but the combination of notes is rather rare.

There may not be many other reminiscent fragrances, but especially one has become tremendously successful and popular here: Guerlain's L'Instant pour Homme. It has the same chocolate appeal – however, Avant Garde appears to be lighter. Actually, I would rather compare Avant Garde to the light L'Instant pH flankers Christaux d'Agrume and L'Instant d'un Été that – sadly – have been discontinued. All those fragrances came out during the last decade, and so, one may regard Avant Garde as Micallef's answer to those successful Guerlain colognes.

Whereas Guerlain's L'Instant pour Homme and the Eau Extrême obviously were designed for the gents with a secret sweet tooth, the basic character of the light flankers as well as of Avant Garde is completely different. It is all about how such a solid and robust gourmand note like chocolate can be set into a dialogue with freshness, transparency and airiness. The result of all three attempts is light elegance – something that would rather not satisfy typical gourmand needs. Within this frame I would locate Avant Garde somewhere in between the popular L'Instant pH original and the light summer flankers. It is the darkish and smoky aspects in the base of Avant Garde that makes one hesitate to categorize it as a straightforward summer fragrance.

Since the Guerlain light flankers of L'Instant pH are history, it looks like Avant Garde is currently the only gents' fragrance exploring the stress field between chocolate and light transparency. For me, it is truly avant-garde in a sense that Avant Garde is anything but a crowd pleaser. If fragrance notes are so far apart from each other, the outcome is hardly easy to wear. Avant Garde should be worn thoughtfully and attentively. The longevity of only an Eau de Toilette helps to avoid wearing it ad nauseam.

A few years ago, I had the chance to talk to Geoffrey Nejman from Micallef. He explained to me that their understanding was that of a family business which includes not to grow beyond a certain size. He told me about his plans for new fragrances but also conceded that others would have to go in return. By now, we have seen quite a few circles of new perfumes by Micallef but Avant Garde is still there! I never expected that - well, sometimes quality prevails.

679 Reviews
Helpful Review    3
Maybe Not Avant Garde, But Certainly Gourmand...
I am not a big gourmand fan, but I like Avante Garde. I kind of liken it to a similar scent as a dark chocolate covered cherry. As I love dark chocolate covered cherries it is hard for me to dislike this scent. That said, it is a bit strange walking around smelling like one. It really does not smell exactly like one, but it is the closest descriptor i can think of. Maybe in a more romantic situation this might work, but as a general daily wear scent it is tough to pull this off. Longevity is quite good, but projection is only average. In the end I have to give Avant Garde a thumbs up and a "good" 3 out of 5 rating, but just understand what you are getting into before you buy as it will not be for everyone, and people who dislike gourmands may have issues wearing it. This should not be a blind buy, IMO.


Hermesh 4 years ago
Starts with citrusy-bitter note, which remains dominant. Unusual, but well implemented combination with cocoa provides modern touch.+1

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