WOW! A gorgeous deep honeyed floral chypre - reminds me of others of this type that I love (Shocking, Ecusson, Replique, Crepe de Chine, Insolent).
It is an assured sensual masculine scent for the older gentleman, and I do emphasize those two words - over 40 and an experienced gentleman. Women love this scent as they encounter it so rarely in men.
If you are a fan of old fashioned, warm, deep chypres, give this a try. Although discontinued, there are scads of inexpensive bottles of this on Ebay.
It starts out with citrus, bergamot, basil and thyme, followed by rose - traditional bit very well made. A slightly boozy notes leads to a floral phase, in which carnation, geranium and orris are blended with masterful depth and intensity, but without much noticable sweetness. Here at the latest the rich, intense glowing depth of all the aromas is amazing, and one recalls Pour Homme of the same house, especially when the base notes arrive, mainly combining cypress wood with styrax, a soft leather and patchouli. A subtle oak moss note is added towards the end. This is a top first class scent, beautifully balanced and blended masterfully of prime quality ingredients. Whilst it's silage and projection are nothing to write home about, the longevity is very good at nearly six hours. So it is not such a long-distance runner and less complex than Pour Homme, yet this is one of Balenciaga's best and of superb quality and sophistication. For when I want to spoil myself in spring.
I bought this blind off the recommendations here, something I tend to do with a little too much frequency lately but typically with good results!
First impressions of Ho Hang Club were a HUGE let down. Ericrico provides an excellent description (as usual, good sir!) and I suspect my initial negative reaction was to the sharp carnation, and sweet, honey-like florals emanating from the top...but as with much in life the details are in the timing, and within 20-30 minutes it tones down, and how!
HHC melds into an accord that to my senses evokes serious "landed-gentry, old money" vibes, particularly the jasmine and light rose notes. There's an alternating radiance of perfected florals with a touch of leather and talc, an air of ''old school' sophistication about it. In this way it reminds me of Dunhill Men ('34 ed.) and Guerlain's Heritage. This stuff wears you and to pull it off with aplomb takes a certain gravitas: Think Jeremy Irons as the CEO in 'Margin Call,' not so much commanding the boardroom as attending gala evening events.
I've really come to love HHC and wish only that I could get my hands on the original Ho Hang for comparison. Great stuff and highly recommend, but with a caveat - I'd try before I buy. This one in particular seems geared to those over 40.
25th October, 2012 (last edited: 26th October, 2012)
Ho Hang Club is a brilliant masterpiece created 10-15 later than it smells...yet, timeless is the beauty of this. Its amazing, rich and transcendent composition can only come from one house...Balenciaga! Adoration...pure, humble adoration is what this scent evokes. It opens with a brilliant chypre vibe that is of THE highest quality - a burst of bergamot and basil are the main notes, blended with a nice dusting of coriander - with a rich, gorgeous and deep note of carnation underneath (perhaps one of the best presentations of this wonderful floral note in fragrance I have ever found - oh, how I wonder how this would smell next to a Malmaison Carnation from the times of days past in Victorian England with Oscar Wilde wearing a fresh bloom)...
This is nearly immediately blended with the main focus of this scent - the glorious heart, that emanates its rhythmic pulse within a minute of the opening blast...smooth and creamy florals that only a Balenciaga scent can wrap in a bouquet. The carnation is initially sharp, combined with the nice spike of bergamot on top - but it tones down to a warm "mid-range", smooth accord that never fades until this is off your body. The earthy geranium & cardamom blend in, with the ethereal jasmine...all supported by two essential ingredients - orris root (perfection here) and a wonderful light rose note. Yes - this is a full bouquet. While the juniper and cypress give it a nice fragrant lift (and greenness to the bouquet)...it never ceases to amaze me just how amazingly smooth this fragrance is - and how the florals can all be picked out individually! Incredible.
It is one of the best skin scents I have ever smelled - and that says a lot. But, then again, Balenciaga Pour Homme is one of my top fragrances of all time. People mention the "honey accord of Balenciaga". There is a light 'sweetness' here from all blended florals and warm amber (and an incredible soft and smooth feel), but also a nice light, powdery quality. I, personally do not get honey as a note - but Balenciaga does use styrax here as a note as the house does in other top-shelf bottlings, which offers a deep resinous quality. The melange of incredible florals could create a honey accord to some with the styrax, perhaps, but I feel it is the quality of the ingredients (and depth) that create a warm and sensuous smooth quality (a "vibe" more than an accord) that is the signature of the brilliant house of Balenciaga.
I get richness that spills over and evokes an image of sheer beauty and harmony. It smells like only something Balenciaga could (and would) put in a bottle. The smokiness comes in from the olibanum and rich leather - definitely an elegant "club"-aroma is created...a dimly lit room with a bit of smoke in the air, warm leather booths surrounding candlelit tables, cocktails and live music. If this came from another house, it would be off-putting or terribly blended - virtually impossible to create this ambiance in a bottle. The composition takes an incredible touch and a brass pair to even think of pulling this off! And, it's done incredibly well.
It is epic in its purity and the ingredients are as rich as one needs to ever satisfy their soul. But, herein lies the beauty - it is not too overtly loud (after the first 5-10 minutes, it becomes a gorgeous fragrant skin scent that creates an aura around you...but it does not have the power of the 1990 Pour Homme bottle and I would not consider it a powerhouse, nor would I want it to be one.) The beauty is its balance and wonderful light feel. The light, smoky florals combined with the leather, patchouli, amber and musk are in harmony and it wears incredibly natural on my skin...wafting up amazing aromas!
The base notes are in perfect proportion - carrying the magnificent heart. Main notes are a wonderful patchouli, warm musk & amber, the previously mentioned slightly smoky olibanum, styrax, and plush leather. I only detect a touch of dried cedar and the moss is light and a nice green note (not heavy at all). This stays floral and fresh with a beautiful oriental vibe in the drydown...and not too woody. I would personally call it an Oriental Chypre - Ho Hang Club is unique and truly top-shelf.
This is for people who appreciate fragrance at his highest quality. My score - perfection on scent alone! Longevity is good, but projection is moderate. After several wearings, I wonder if I would want it to be any louder...hmmm, I think not. This is for those who have quiet confidence and swagger. Ho Hang Club is "exclusive" - only those in the "know" should attempt to wear this. Overall score - 9.5+/10. Another masterpiece from the house of Balenciaga. There are great fragrances, classic scents and then masterpieces. If this was music, it would be smooth jazz. Sheer brilliance in a bottle.
09th September, 2012 (last edited: 03rd January, 2013)
After multiple full wearings, I must proclaim Ho Hang Club a masterpiece. Although this is a rookie in my fragrance lineup, it is rapidly increasing its playing time.
Initially, I was surprised that this came out in 1987. It easily could have been released 20 years earlier. The formal, elegant bottle would be at home on Frank Sinatra's or Cary Grant's vanity and for once the "Club" moniker is apropos. It is disappointing that Balenciaga discontinued this aroma, for it deserves a broader audience. For fans of old school manly marvels, this is compulsory sniffing.
Ho Hang Club has the bones of such barbershop fragrances as the earlier THE BARON and the subsequent RIVE GAUCHE POUR HOMME. It shares a bergamot and floral structure with these two masculine classics but is more complex than either. It also has a bit of the bad boy found in PARFUM D'HABIT and KOUROS with a milder civet-like note (probably from the bergamot and patchouli combination) and he's clad in a pair of leather driving gloves. I also detect some incense which creates the mirage of smokiness. The civety and leathery vibe is what HHC shares with its blood brothers, Ho Hang and Balenciaga.
There isn't a stage of this scent that disappoints me: the bergamot opening is vocal but always in key, the floral middle is comfortable and lovely (if you like the rose usage in IQUITOS, you'll like it here) and the leather and patchouli drydown is modest yet not quite retiring. One might quibble with the somewhat reticent sillage but the more I wear this the more noticeable it becomes. The longevity is just fine.
If forced to flee my residence to outpace a coup, this will be among the handful of perfumes that I salvage. Undoubtedly a mainstay in my collection for the foreseeable future.
12th June, 2011 (last edited: 29th July, 2011)