Certainly a very different offering from Balenciaga's early days, one of Germaine Celliers more playful compositions, the parfum exudes the warmth of a French country side idyll with jasmine as the main floral contender centred around a solid base of amber, herbal notes, sandalwood & vetyver. Celliers construct for this fragrance was to exhibit the innumerable olfactive accords experienced from her formative years with superb and highly complex bases including herbal/anisic accords of tarragon, thyme, hay abs. & violet leaf available from the major fragrance and flavour companies of the time. The heart consists of lavender and jasmine creating a heady kitchen/garden atmosphere where both floral and savoury notes blend seamlessly to give the allusion of a quintessential French country house, the jasmine used in the original formula was indeed grown in the hills of Grasse & used in a higher concentration than in most of the other parfums from that mid 20th century period, one of Germaine Celliers best & a vintage favorite of mine for sure, almost impossible to find now in extrait strength, I guard my bottle of parfum zealously! Search for this, you will not be disappointed. . .
This is Balenciaga's second fragrance creation after the seminal Le Dix. The opening is an absolute stunner: green herbal notes, with a good lashing of thyme, combines with fresh green notes and a whiff of bergamot combine to an opening blast of distinction, that in its tail gives rise to an anise that has whiffs of cardamom added. Soon a classic dyad of violet and jasmine emerges, and the heart notes develop into a floral potpourri that is well balanced and very delightful.
In the base I find a predominance of a light and bright amber, which is accompanied by a nonspecific woodsy component, and in the last phases white musk makes and appearance on my skin.
There is one downside to this delight: the suboptimal performance, even when it is applied rather lavishly. Initially stronger, the sillage is only soft after the first couple of hours, and similarly I get decent projection at the beginning, but then it is very close to my skin. The total longevity is six hours, but the last couple of hours mainly consist of whiffs of the Amber notes with a light powderiness slowly fading out at the end.
Overall this is a great fragrance that is well blended and made of prime quality ingredients, and the limited performance might be du to the fact that my vintage sample is old an tired. Whilst I in principle do not up-score fatigued vintage samples that might have been better in the past - I always score the here and now - in case of doubt I give the better score in general, out of respect to the professionals who created a fragrance. Fuite des Heures lies just between positive and neutral (due to the poor performance), so I give is a positive score - just. 3/5
Resembling very closely Balenciaga's later QUADRILLE with its deep, rich, potpourri chypre warmth, LA FUITE DES HEURES is another in that long line (14 I have discovered thus far and counting) copying the uniqueness of Millot's original CREPE DE CHINE of 1925.
This type of honeyed tobacco floral chypre was obviously tremendously popular in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, then disappeared completely from the 60s onward. It is based on a 16th century Italian formula.
Excellent and very hard to find!
First edit: Numerous wearings have allowed me to detect a mix of lilac, violet and muguet in the crisp dry down. Both warm and dry at the same time. Truly a wonder.
I have an ongoing obsession with researching and buying fragrances online. Judging by the prices bottles of Fleeting Moment attract at auction, I flagged it as one of the most desired vintage Balenciagas. Nevertheless, I eventually managed to snag a micro mini of extrait from a trusted seller for just a few dollars.
Expecting something feminine, I was immediately struck by FM's 'savoury' qualities: its top notes are predominantly herbal (rosemary and lavender) -and if I had to assign a gender to this fragrance it would be 'masculine'. After the herbal blast I think I can smell the dark green note of pine or fir, then woodiness (patchouli?). It reminds me of a tamer, galbanum-less Bandit.
OK I just looked up this fragrance on Fragrantica and read that Fleeting Moment was composed by the legendary Germaine Cellier! No wonder it invoked my memories of Bandit. According Fragrantica, FM is classified as a chypre with "herbal and green notes, anise, aldehydes, flowers that are dominated by jasmine, thyme, violet, woody tones, leather, amber" (seems I was confusing rosemary/lavender with thyme).
If you like Bandit you might also like Fleeting Moment, but I have to give FM a neutral thumb because I am not at all partial to this style of fragrance.
My sample was elegant, rich, and refined but somehow generic; there was somehow no personality, nothing memorable.During the drydown a slight smell of melting plastic appeared briefly.The fragrance faded more quickly than I would have expected for a parfum.