Perfume Directory

Ho Hang (1971)
by Balenciaga

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Ho Hang information

Year of Launch1971
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityDiscontinued
Average Rating
(based on 107 votes)

People and companies

HouseBalenciaga
PerfumerRaymond Chaillan
PerfumerJacques Jentzen
Parent CompanyBenckiser > Coty Inc > Coty Prestige
Parent Company at launchMarbert

About Ho Hang

Ho Hang is a masculine fragrance by Balenciaga. The scent was launched in 1971 and the fragrance was created by perfumers Jacques Jentzen and Raymond Chaillan

Ho Hang fragrance notes

Reviews of Ho Hang

Balenciaga was the House of the Living Dead for many years, being resurrected multiple times over the course of several decades since Cristobal Balenciaga shuttered it's doors in 1968. Ho Hang was the launch product of the couture house when it was reopened the first time by Marbert to make ready-to-wear apparel, and was released the year before Cristobal's death in 1971. Raymond Challian was tapped for perfumer duty on this one, undoubtedly for his recent work for Yves Saint Laurent making Yves Saint Laurent Pour Homme earlier in the year, plus Givenchy III (1970) before that. Being paired with Jacques Jetzen, Raymond Challian, whose style dominated this fragrance, seemed fond of subtle elegance with masulines at a time when subtlety wasn't valued, since YSL Pour Homme was an aromatic citrus chypre in a time when the fougère was re-emerging and loaded with heft. We were still a few years away from the heavy woodsy soap bombs of the mid 70's, and the creative directors at the newly-revived Balenciaga probably asked for a competitive fougère too. Challian gave them what they wanted alright, but it shares many similarities with the chypre genre, and has an equally soft-spoken gentlemanly manner to many of the 50's greats. Ho Hang was a generational hold-over like nearly all the Balenciaga masculines to follow: unaware of trend and just delivering understated grace, and traditional design rather than pushing to make trends like it's peers in the field; Ho Hang gets compared to Hermès Equipage (1970) from the year before as well. My take is that the only thing keeping this from being a super-classy chypre is it's lack of leather and animalic tones, with it's focus on tonka and vanilla in the base making it a fougère by definition alone. It's truly hard to define, but whatever you think it is, you'll agree that it's undeniably classic.

Ho Hang opens gently, with orange, lavender, basil, and lemon. The orange being a sweeter-than-usual choice, is counterbalanced by a crisp basil note, sprig of mint, and soft lavender. Several complain that the opening is all too fleeting, but I feel that like many mid-century masculines that this draws parentage from, the opening is just meant as a welcome mat to the rest of the fragrance, and not meant to be part of it for any appreciable amount of time. The classic barbershop lines mixed with subtle patchouli of the middle almost swoon the nose into submission. Cedar, sandalwood and geranium make expected appearances and serve to ease the final shift to the base. Nothing out of the ordinary exists in this base either, because again, Raymond Challian prefers buttoned-down masuline lines, like he was listening to a Bing Crosby record or watching a Noir film while composing Ho Hang. Coumarin from the obvious tonka source is joined by just a smidge of buttery oakmoss, making the skin glow similar to vintage Chanel Pour Monsieur (1955), but with an additional fougère green that the Chanel doesn't have, thanks to the tonka. Olibdanum, labdanum, and vanilla fill in rest. The basil does hang around a bit longer than it should, which is one of two complaints I have, with the other being no cold weather stamina, but they're minor gripes. 20 years later Challian would compose Boucheron Pour Homme (1991) along similar lines, proving once again that he was a master of the gentile masculine, but Ho Hang honestly remains his best male work. If soft barbershop lines and the decorum of a sartorial existence don't please, then there's still the wolf in sheep's clothing of YSL Pour Homme. It's the fougère for chypre lovers, and a fragrance for a man that wants the classic smell of a man without people being able to guess what decade his cologne is from, which I hate people doing to me anyway.

By and large Ho Hang is a high-water mark to a genre that was already passing into history when it released, and if not for the misleadingly raunchy advertising associated with the scent, probably would have not launched successfully. It was discreet at a time when discretion in masculine perfumery was fast becoming a joke, and evocative of a niche traditionalist mindset 30 years before that market would exist. This could be marketed by niche old-schoolers such as Penhaligon's or Caswell-Massey nowadays, hold the same price tag vintage stock does, and sell well. Still, it hung on for 30 years in the less-forgiving designer market before being discontinued, likely helped by the popularity of it's arguably more-successful (and potent) flanker Ho Hang Club (1987), which too was a house re-launch scent, but under Jacques Bogart's leadership. Ho Hang is clean, fresh, timeless masculinity without the use of overly soapy notes or aquatic chemical trickery, and uncommonly light compared to future monsters from the house. It is as against the grain in the 21st century as it was in the 70's, and long discontinued thanks to current Balenciaga owners Coty Prestige, who see no need to have male perfumes from the brand that is now more known for biker-styled handbags than anything else. Is it essential? Only for the hardcore collector due to price and difficulty finding it, but if you can at least try it, you too will be enamoured by it's quiet confidence Ho Hang is a long-missed masterpiece.
23rd March, 2018 (last edited: 30th April, 2018)
Ho hang vintage is a bomb . Like ,Antaeus,Captain Molyneux,Tuscany,Equipage ,one of the best ,out of time.
30th November, 2017
A marginal thumbs up for this classic. It smells fine, but arguably incomplete, a base missing a top, settling almost too quickly into an agreeable accord, but nothing overly gripping.
15th November, 2016
Stardate 20160804:

It was the trendsetter. The original. Oft copied but never outclassed. Gucci Pour Homme and Gianfranco Ferre for Man (both masterpiece in their own right) derive a lot of their character form Ho Hang.
Like all the good stuff from the days of yore, this has been discontinued and I am glad as it did not get the love it deserved.

04th August, 2016 (last edited: 19th August, 2016)
I see this as a contemporary of Vintage Hermes Equipage. Has the same Gentlemanly flavour. Instead of the Hermes Leather Elegance and Animalic we have more of a Powdery, Spicy Floral Soapy drydown. A nice Basil top note. I like owning both and when wearing one question which is better. Two Classics.
04th June, 2016 (last edited: 08th May, 2017)
I used to wear Ho Hang at high school. I probably was the only guy of my age who wore this one. Nothing ressembles to this. A strange and complex composition: Citrus foral herbal.

Maybe outdated surely not a safe scent and certainly not for everyboby but for me one of the best. On my all Time top 5. Unfortunately discontuned and difficult to find at an indecent price.

Masterpiece 9/10
15th August, 2015

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Rare Vintage Balenciaga Ho Hang Eau De Toilette Splash 3 oz 30% Full

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Ho Hang Club BY Cristobal Balenciaga for men EDT 50ML/1.6oz NEW; Boxed

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Ho Hang Club by Balenciaga Eau de Toilette 1.6oz New in Box

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Vintage Balenciaga Ho Hang Club EDT - 5ML Glass Sample Travel Spray - FREE SHIP

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Vintage Balenciaga Ho Hang Eau De Toilette 10ml Sample Glass Spray Bottle

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HO HANG CLUB BALENCIAGA FOR MEN - 1.6 OZ/50 ML EDT SPRAY - NO BOX - RARE

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Balenciaga Ho Hang 1.6oz Men's Eau de Toilette Spray New With Cap (RARE)

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HO HANG BY BALENCIAGA 0.3 oz /10 ml EAU DE TOILETTE SPLASH WOMEN MINI NEW IN BOX

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Ho Hang Club By Balenciaga 1.6oz EDT Spray In Original Retail Box For Men RARE

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Ho Hang Club by Balenciaga 1.7 oz 50 ml Eau de Toilette Spray (Vintage)

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