Perfume Directory

Ho Hang Club (1987)
by Balenciaga


Ho Hang Club information

Year of Launch1987
Average Rating
(based on 84 votes)

People and companies

Parent CompanyBenckiser > Coty Inc > Coty Prestige
Parent Company at launchBogart Group

About Ho Hang Club

Ho Hang Club is a masculine fragrance by Balenciaga. The scent was launched in 1987

Ho Hang Club fragrance notes

Reviews of Ho Hang Club

Cristobal Balenciaga was once called "The Master of Us All" by Christian Dior, who alongside the late Hubert de Givenchy, had great esteem for the pioneering designer. His daring designs redefined a woman's silhouette in the mid 20th century, for better or worse, but his perfume gets very little attention, especially with the way the house kept stopping and starting over the years, with the masculines even less recognized. Cristobal himself closed Balenciaga's doors in 1968 due to clashes with Chambre syndicale de la haute couture parisienne, but a year before his death, the house was re-booted by the company Marbert as a ready-to-wear label only, heralded by the first masculine scent Ho Hang (1971), before the clothing side went dormant again. 1986 would see another house reboot with the Bogart Group being the new stewards, and with their expertise in male perfumery, Balenciaga would release several very distinct but sadly unnoticed masculines alongside their feminine lines, starting with a new Ho Hang in 1987. This "Ho Hang Club" would feel less like a flanker and more like a rebirth, as all indicators point to it smelling nothing at all like the original from which it borrows both name and form factor. First of all, the amount of notes in this is ridiculous to the point of it being impossible for me to separate them, so I won't try. It's a dark, semi-sweet honeyed floral chypre that was a real rarity even in 1987.

Ho Hang Club is definitely late 70's/early 80's super-macho "kitchen sink" construction, but in 1987 when this virile style was starting to get edged out by brighter, spicier, and often fruit-topped powerhouses that had moss in the base for a sauve attitude rather than an aggressive one, with the similarly domineering Lapidus Pour Homme of the same year being an exception of late-showing chauvinism as well. Ho Hang Club definitely is not on the level of One Man Show (1980), Antaeus (1981), or Kouros (1981) like Lapidus was, but it does have a similar "piss-take" opening and a dry base, with a styrax/amber/musk trifecta being the most powerful elements in dry down. The top is bergamot, lemon, basil, and coriander; it's pretty standard-fare 80's but it gets honeyed by the styrax (which is a source of benzoin), in a similar way to Giorgio Beverly Hills for Men (1984), but without the patchouli growl. Instead, a bouquet of florals similar to Révillion's French Line (1984) or Azzaro Acteur (1989) come into play, but the rose presence in Ho Hang Club is way muted by comparison. Some call this a leather scent, but to me the leather is even less present than it is in the oft-compared Maxim’s Pour Homme (1988), which itself barely qualifies for that title. Ho Hang Club is just a true abstract in a class by itself. Sillage is not on a typical 80's powerhouse level, but this faithfully waft off collars and skin all day long, so it's certainly a performer.

Fans of the "Noir/Gothic" style will likely love Ho Hang Club regardless of age, as it has that honey-sweet opening, muted flowers in the middle, and murky base full of unearthly darkness and understated sexual tension. It's in a vein similar to Salvador Dali Pour Homme (also 1987), Eucris by Geo F Trumper (1912) or Jacomo de Jacomo (1980) but without the smoke. Ho Hang Club trades in it's pipe and loafers for a pair of wing tips and a brandy cordial, making it rest between Dali and the aforementioned French Line. It's unmistakably masculine but it won't rip off it's shirt to prove it like it's classmate Lapidus, and like all surviving Balenciaga masculines, nobody will have any idea what you're wearing. Sadly Coty purged all male perfumes from Balenciaga when Kering handed them the perfume license after buying Balenciaga from Bogart (who were idiots for selling it), but Ho Hang Club seems the least-sought of all the old male lines because it is indeed so dark. It's a Guillermo del Toro movie in a bottle: Esoteric, gorgeous, but a little bit unsettling. Suggested use is formal romantic wear, evening use, or just personal time in spring or fall. This one isn't casual enough for work or day wear, but might be nice for a night at an opera, play, concert, or movie.
15th March, 2018
Stardate 20161110:

Musk, patch, carnation, spices.
A great power frag - the likes of vintage Antaeus.

Balenciaga made great masculines - Ho Hang, Ho Hang Club, Pour Homme, Portos.
All amazing and therefore all discontinued

Get HHC while it is still affordable.
11th November, 2016
This is an outstanding masculine perfume, an animalic patchouli, seemingly my favorite kind.
31st March, 2016
This stuff is extraordinary!! It doesn't say in the pyramid above anything about honey, however it shares a glorious Balenciaga honeyed piss note attractive. Certainly not as well blended as it's younger brother Pour Homme, however it maintains an 80's over the top perfumey, out of control masculine wildness reminiscent of the time. Personally,because of this, I think this edges out the younger,more refined bro. It also is a closer brother to Boss No.1 Vintage.
Under-rated in my opinion.
14th January, 2016 (last edited: 08th January, 2017)
drseid Show all reviews
United States
Ho Hang Club goes on with an earthy patchouli, floral carnation and orange clay-like coriander spice starring trio, as green oakmoss rising from the base lends early support. As the composition reaches its early heart the oakmoss turns slightly more assertive, mixing with additional leathery styrax and dull rose, also joining the earlier carnation and coriander co-stars. During the late dry-down the composition turns quite woody, as cedar melds with the floral remnants now coupling with relatively dry, quite potent amber from the base through the finish. Projection is above average and longevity very good to excellent at 10-12 hours on skin.

Ho Hang Club is a tough composition to completely pin down. The floral-laced patchouli open is quite 80s powerhouse-like in its implementation and quite aggressive. Shortly after though, things go a different direction than one might expect as the coriander spice adds a clay-like undertone to the composition, and when the dull rose shows up, it gives off a very good impression of rosewood. Rosewood is not my favorite smelling wood by far and it can come off smelling a bit dated and mundane at times; but in Ho Hang Club the patchouli hanging around past the open livens up the rosewood a bit with its slightly sharp earthy nature, giving it some sparkle. The cedar-driven woody amber dry-down is probably the least interesting part of the composition, but the way it sneaks up on you as the coriander recedes enough to let it shine through is quite the surprise and keeps things interesting through the end. The bottom line is the discontinued but still relatively inexpensive Ho Hang Club at under $0.50 per ml is a fine but less than perfect outing for Balenciaga, earning a "very good" 3.5 star out of 5 rating and a solid recommendation to old school composition lovers (like me).
09th February, 2014
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.

Treat yourself!
08th November, 2013

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