Skip to main content


Posted in

Avant-garde is the name of a fragrance by M. Micallef, the luxury perfume company located in Grasse, France. Launched in the men’s category in 2006, it’s flown since then under the blogosphere radar – not many posts, and no appearances on “Best of” lists, partly because of the restrictive ‘male’ tag which belies its non-gendered appeal, but also because of its “avant-garde-ness”, its strangeness that set it apart from the pack. It is, comme il dit, outside the box.
The opening is citrus, but I don’t know if I’m smelling lime, lemon, grapefruit, bergamot, or orange – it’s citrus salad, fresh and juicy, but as soon as I lock down that image, someone close by starts tamping sweet tobacco into their pipe, and spooning dark cocoa powder into the fruit bowl. The sensation is on the edge of gourmand, a sharp fruitiness hovering over dark smoky powder, which balances for a minute or two – reminding me of the unconventional opening of Mon Patchouly by Ramon Monegal - and then begins to soften into buttery sueded leather as the dry-down begins.
The effect becomes one of darkness and softness, which expands as the heart of Avant-garde reveals incense, edged with the subtle aromatics of the tobacco and cocoa. It’s an enticing accord, which in the base becomes powdery from amber, with the faintest hint of dark almondy vanilla from tonka bean. In the end, Avant-garde is a sensual skin-scent which delivers a lovely balanced and charismatic sillage, still tinged with its initial strange citrus  smokiness.
I’ve always admired my Micallef frag in its solid black bottle, and now after really wearing it, l’ve decided I love it.
Notes: bergamot, grapefruit, cocoa bean, tobacco, incense, Russian leather, tonka bean, grey amber
Type: EdP
Parfumeurs: Geoffrey Nejman with Jean Claude Astier

Price: $5.00