Perhaps the absolute pinnacle of the aromatic fougere. Certainly a challenge to Azzaro PH in this regard. More complex, bright, and mossy than Azzaro, with prominent savory lime notes infused with cinnamon, thyme, coriander, and incense and softened with a floral/caramelic touch of sweetness. The base to me is about boozy oakmoss with some camphorous patchouli and woods (sandal and cedar.) Powerful, persistent perfection.
Starts out slightly soapy (not a a bad thing ). Followed by a boozy accord with a nice green accord. For this fragrance to have so many notes, it smells great. A gorgeous barbershop vibe is the result of this this retro style gem. 8/10
Thank you so much for your review, Way Off Scenter. Having never smelled this scent before, I was sure my miniature bottle had turned when I first opened it. It smelled like the whiskey sour my older sister threw up in the back of our family's station wagon Christmas 1972. :-/ (Clearly this olfactory trauma has stayed with me.) I braved putting a little on, and was pleasantly surprised within 5 minutes. Still wondering if the juice was bad or not, I was considering returning it until I read your review, which saved the day. (e.g.: "Yikes! This stuff is extreme! It practically jumps out of the bottle with harsh greens, aldehydes, and something that smells an awful lot like warm vinegar, delivering a roundhouse kick to the sinuses.") Now I realize this is just the way BPH first opens. But once it sits on your skin a few minutes and calms the hell down, it really is pretty delicious.
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A great fragrance in which the waxy type of widespread animalic-resinous soapiness (finally delicate, slightly powdery and refined) is in my opinion just a preordained quality (initially faint due the dominant aromatic elements), neither a symbol of olfactory mess nor a collapse of real complexity and articulation (on this point I respectfully disagree with my friend Colin Maillard, one of the absolute top reviewers here on Basenotes). Balenciaga Pour Homme is a complex woody/spicy oriental (highly floral and faintly leathery) which possesses (in the first stage) the fresh aromatic Fougere/Powerhouse quality and all at once also a warmer powdery woody oriental chypre temperament. Yes, a kaleidoscopic fragrance finally really subtle. It starts by soon floral-aromatic (fresh lavender, coriander are laundry, cool and aromatic) and hesperidic with an unmistakable aldehydic-incensey-waxy spicy (cinnamon) undertone (or better, background) and a following earthy-powdery accord of iris/patchouli/balsams/soapy amber/wax/honey. Excellent phase, really freshly soapy, finally chypre in vibe, earthy and floral (in particular lily, rose and iris perform their valzer). A notable fruity cinnamon seems connected with incense, powdery iris, chypre powder and smooth ambery soap in order to provide a spicy-fruity smooth main texture. I detect the leather which is anyway not crucial or heady but just a smooth undertone. Yes there is an aromatic opening and a spicy/earthy undertone but the aroma is finally smoother and does not possesses the classic powerhouse strenght (like for instance in Trussardi Uomo or Drakkar Noir). In the final stage powdery woods are more notable and somewhat talky. The aroma owns (despite its brighteness) the internship in the clan of the hystorical finally soapy powderhouses like V&A Pour Homme, Antaeus or Salvador Dali Pour Homme (Yes Capucci is an even more appropriate reference on the side of Nino Cerruti) despite BPH smells milder, less aromatic/laundry and finally more spicy oriental (floral and sweet- and vaguely sweaty-greasy). A great fragrance, really sophisticated, classy and sexy. Better in the colder weathers.
12th October, 2014 (last edited: 05th September, 2015)
Balenciaga pour Homme is like those movie stars which end their life wasted in misery, that make you think "what a lost chance". The opening is fantastic, a unique and avantgarde cornucopia of patchouli, tobacco, incense, herbal notes, soapy flowers (a realistic, dry soap, like Marseille' soap), dense resinous-caramel notes, rose, carnation, something boozy and animalic on the base (like civet or styrax), then vanilla. Really complex, dusty and masculine but also much sweet and plushy, even fresh in its peculiar way, a colourful breeze perfectly mixed with the base darkness of earthy-animalic notes. The incense note is woody and dusty (on the cedar side), beautifully enriched by spicy-resinous notes. In short a really peculiar, modern, vibrant opening, miles away from most of the clichés of masculine scents back then – less austere and dark than Italian fougères, more playful and warm than the classic Frenchies, a unique take on men's scent. But... "not everything turns out as it should". After a short span of time (within the first hour) it already starts "collapsing" here and there, it gets confused, becoming a messy soapy-spicy-resinous concoction, cloying and sweetish, with metallic and camphor nuances. It's like if all "good" notes were instantly replaced by their evil alter egos – or like if you accomplished a great painting and you pour alcohol on it by accident, and all colours melt and vanish away. A shame that makes this a discontinued scent we won't really miss.
Genre: Woody Oriental
Yikes! This stuff is extreme! It practically jumps out of the bottle with harsh greens, aldehydes, and something that smells an awful lot like warm vinegar, delivering a roundhouse kick to the sinuses. All of this settles down within moments to reveal a fascinating, nutty accord of artemisia, anise, vetiver, and leather. Balenciaga pour Homme immediately aligns itself with scents like Antaeus, Van Cleef and Arpels, R. de Capucci, and even Yatagan. Only tough boys need apply.
Balenciaga continues to pump out anise, aromatics, and leather for quite some time, though the projection and sillage seem to diminish rather quickly. This is not all bad, since it makes Balenciaga a bit more wearable. The principal accord also sweetens quite a bit as it develops, as amber and an elusive floral note join the blend. As time goes on a very suave sandalwood emerges and melds into the blend, softening the overall effect without elbowing out the still vibrant anise.
Like Scooptn I read Jack Hunter's review and was intrigued. First blast reminded me of the smell of Noxzema ointment. It then bursts into a kaleidoscope of scents and flavours much like the pyramid above. I have yet to identify the caramel. I agree with Hunter, it is a brilliant blend. I love it!! My girl hates it! I wear it when alone for my own pleasure.
31st March, 2014 (last edited: 12th January, 2016)
Balenciaga pour Homme opens with an aromatic lavender, carnation and rose floral accord with supporting green oakmoss rising all the way from the base. As the composition enters its early heart the floral trio and oakmoss remain, now joined by a very strong patchouli, cinnamon and leathery styrax starring trio with the composition turning slightly sweet, primarily derived from supporting honey and tonka bean. During the late dry-down the floral aspects and patchouli gradually dissipate as creamy, slightly sweet sandalwood joins supporting slightly powdery mild vanilla from the base, with traces of the earlier cinnamon remaining in additional support through the finish. Projection is outstanding and longevity average at 7-8 hours on skin.
Balenciaga pour Homme is a powerhouse lover's dream come true. It has all the hallmarks of the great 80s compositions (though it was actually released in 1990). Powerful projection, check, strong patchouli and spice-laden floral heart, check, plenty of oakmoss, check... The list goes on and on. I absolutely adore the stuff, finding it one of the best compositions I have sniffed from the 90s. Despite its genuine powerhouse credentials, somehow the late dry-down pulls in the reigns as the composition becomes much more controlled and tame. That said, even the more subdued late sandalwood and spiced vanilla driven dry-down, while probably my least favorite aspect of the composition is amazing in its own right. The bottom line is the sadly discontinued but still available on the aftermarket for about $1 per ml Balenciaga pour Homme is a masterpiece caliber composition by the great Gerard Anthony that demands any powerhouse lover's attention, earning a 4.5 star out of 5 rating and an extremely strong recommendation.
I made a blind buy based on Jack Hunter's review and comments in the forums and I'm so glad I did! I can't really put it any better than Jack, but I will say after one wearing, I have bought a backup bottle.
Still taken with this fragrance, and I have increased my stock to 150 ml all at a reasonable price.
25th January, 2014 (last edited: 14th March, 2014)
This is a magnificent fragrance that has a symphony of notes of the highest quality. It is a real beauty and a pleasure to smell.
It opens with the smoothest best quality incense I have smelled in a fragrance coupled with patchouli. This is backed up with citrus notes.From this opening it smells like a spicy apple cider aroma but in a really good way.
This is quickly followed by a sweet lavender note as well as cinnamon. As time passes you can pick up leather and floral notes all mixed in with the patchouli and incense in a olfactory smelling harmony.
I get a amazing sixteen hours longevity with above average projection. I have to say I have never smelled anything like this it is quite unequal.
Hand on my heart this is one of the very best high quality fragrances I have ever smelled. It's a pity that this was discontinued in the late Nineties as it is Magnificent.
A perfect 10 out of 10.
This is a powerful fougere, beginning with a minty menthol blast, followed by the classic combo of lavender, oakmoss and bergamot, rounded by a bit of thyme and cinnamon. It then places these notes in the background, but ever there, as it slowly dries down to a sweet evergreen forest (heated by the sun, then cooled by a breeze). At least this is what comes to my nose.
There are many additional notes (middles of Muguet, Jasmine, Caramel and Honey and bases of Patchouli, Vanilla, Sandalwood, Cypress, Cedar, Musk, Styrax, Benzoin and Civet).
This creation took a great deal of care and skill and is to be highly respected. It is a shame that it is discontinued. One of the best fougeres ever created.
Put on your seat belt, you're going for a ride!
This fragrance is not for the faint-of-heart! This fragrance is not only unique, but it transcends the boundaries of olfaction by leaps and bounds. For starters, my nose is nowhere near as well-trained as some here on Basenotes, but here's my take...
The initial blast is that of Bergamot, Coriander with a nicely done dash of cinnamon. In the mid-notes, I get a substantial wood-oriented influence, namely sandalwood and cedar. In the basenotes I get a rich velvety oakmoss that is wrapped with a vanilla, musk and amber bow.
It's one of those fragrances that I probably don't wear often enough, then again, I can honestly say that my daily life doesn't warrant me wearing an elixir of such magnitude. I reserve this fragrance for when I am looking to impress or really want to differentiate myself "fragrantly" from those in a crowd. Like I'd said in my opening, this is absolutely not for the faint-of-heart. This is a fragrance that exudes confidence, class and distinction. If you're not prepared for this one, you won't wear Balenciaga PH, it'll wear you!
I only have one word of caution, or consider it a piece of advice... Apply this one sparingly, otherwise you'll be transported quickly from captivating to overbearing in just one spray.
Pros: Complex, unique, distinguished
Cons: Can be easily over-applied if you're not careful"
A first-class experience
Bergamot, lavender and coriander make for an impressive opening blast, that is soon joined by a softer jasmine note of rare quality. This is very well done, but quite traditional though. The drydown raises the bar dramatically: a delicious boozy honey note, intensive but not too sweet, that dominates for several hours, combines with caramel and counterbalancing sandalwood with patchouli to form quite a unique combination. After a few hours a delightful and rich new pipe tobacco note arises, that is followed by tonka - again not too sweet. After about four hours the scent retreats to be closer to my skin, but is always still there - definite but not intrusive, and never overbearing. After about six hours a beautiful fougere-style oakmoss aroma predominates, classic and deep, but not very dark. This all is exceptionally beautifully blended and of the highest quality. Silage and projection are good, especially in the initial hours, and the longevity is phenomenal - I get around fifteen hours. First class all the way, a singular masterpiece and Balenciaga's finest for men that I know.
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The only thing I can say about this scent is that we have a Masterpiece in front of us. A real caleidoscope of different vibes, a monster longevity >12 hrs, without being rude as classic powerhouses usually do...and one of the best drydown ever. Discontinued in 1999, if you find a bottle grab it immediately.
It starts where Kouros ends, and goes beyond the stars.
two thumbs up are not enough.
30th April, 2013 (last edited: 22nd April, 2014)
A kaleidoscopic fragrance. What opens like a sopay, clean and sparkling fougere (lavender, citruses, bergamot), evolves with time into a woody oriental of great complexity and depth. Spicy, incensey and woody with subtle gorumandic facets and an overall balmy quality. Powerful yet not overwhelming, perfectly sized and distinctive. A very good masculine.
Old school without smelling dated.
I love the 80's power-house genre. However, Balenciaga is just too "over-the-top" for me. Normally, even with an 80's power-house, I can enjoy a couple of sprays to the neck and maybe one more to the chest for good measure. In the case of Balenciaga, even one spray to the chest is too much for me. It reminds me quite a bit of Lapidus (sans the awful pineapple note) and is not a bad fragrance...It's just TOO powerful for this power-house lover...
EDIT: I've learned how to apply Balenciaga, and hence I've changed my rating to a "thumbs-up". Moderation is the key. The vaporizer releases a large amount of juice when actuated. If you just partially depress the actuator, precisely controlling the amount released, it can be applied moderately...And what a difference moderation makes with this fragrance!! When applied carefully, this really is a very appealing fragrance.
15th December, 2012 (last edited: 11th January, 2013)
Epic bottle of juice that is sadly long gone. Balenciaga Pour Homme will always be in my Top 5 fragrances - it is meant for only those who understand it. A powerhouse that is refined and the composition so unique. A masterpiece of taste and sheer strength - nothing like it exists. The other reviewers on Basenotes cover this well. I just wanted to add another positive note without trying to write a review that even the most colorful adjectives, metaphors and superlatives could not come close to actually describe. Personally, I don't get the "honey" note and it is one I am sensitive to - but this magnificent bottle does have that infamous feel of a Balenciaga. What is missing from the note pyramid are two rich resins that give this bottle and many others from Balenciaga that incredible richness - styrax and benzoin. Together, they create that "Balenciaga-vibe" and warm body - it is more of an accord that one gets with the incredible depth of this composition, in my humble opinion. But, it is important to note just how incredible& rich this feels...so acknowledging those resins is key to understanding how this depth is created. It doesn't matter as much to most people who are lucky enough to even smell Balenciaga Pour Homme - this is sheer brilliance that creates awe when you wear it (or you adorn it, better said).
Grottola's review is very accurate in both description and vibe. I am blessed to have this in my collection. It is Gerard Anthony's genius captured in a bottle.
As per the official scent pyramid (which I find, to my nose, to be correct - but missing a few key notes):
TOP: Ceylon Cinnamon; Italian Bergamot; Coriander; Thyme
MID: Patchouli; Sandalwood; Cypress; Cedar
BOTTOM: Yugoslavian Oakmoss; Vanilla Bourbon; Amber; Musk
This is not fragrance - it is olfactory perfection in a composition. 10/10.
28th April, 2012 (last edited: 12th February, 2013)
My all time favorite. Words cannot describe the effect this cologne has on me. It's like a time portal when I smell it. I still have a 1.7 oz bottle and never want to use it since it's discontinued. Has anyone found anything similar to this scent? I am on the constant search for a replacement.
Okay, if Kouros is still around, then why can't Balenciaga Pour Homme make a return?
Seriously! This really is one of the best masculine fragrances I've ever smelled. It's a powerhouse and it's not offensive or urinous at all. From the beginning to the end, I get cinnamon, incense, aldehydes, a lot of patchouli, and some warm fruity boozy leather to balance it out. This is definitely one of the most unique fragrances I've smelled, as well. I can't exactly think of a fragrance that is similar per se, but the overall "feel" reminds me of Donna Karan's original Fuel for Men, along with hints of Kouros and, even a few Anise/Tea/Gourmand scents like Yohji Homme and Gucci Pour Homme II. There is no unpleasantness or cloying/overbearing nature to Balenciaga Pour Homme; it is just smooth all-around.
The bottle is amazing too. Tall, stoic and utterly 1990 without being cheesy, bearing an amazing green-marble finish on the sprayer.
Balenciaga Pour Homme projects extremely well, but it's not invasive. It lasts a long time, and it's so good. Besides Patou Pour Homme, this has become my favorite 80's/pre-aquatic 90's powerhouse so far in my fragrance journey.
Anyway, I'm glad to have found a bottle of this thanks to a very generous Basenoter. Unless Balenciaga comes to their senses and gives Balenciaga Pour Homme a relaunch, then I suggest you get to it before you can't. Thumbs up, five stars, and my most sincere recommendations.
22nd April, 2011 (last edited: 23rd April, 2011)
Wow. I think one of the finest male fragrances ever created. Clearly a masterpiece, that should never be in doubt. If Patou PH is as good as this, I need some! It's depth, beauty and sincerity leave me speechless. The only question is, am I good enough to wear it!
Powerhouse Fragrance? Check.
Monstrous sillage? Check.
Outstanding drydown? Check.
All-day longevity? Check.
Oh, yes, and one more thing:
Smell good? Check.
Balenciaga PH is one of those "old school" fragrances that have been abandoned in the current mindset of so many parfum houses. It's an all out, full bore, pedal to the metal masculine scent - no mistaking this for some weak-kneed "fresh" fragrance. Right out of the bottle, it overwhelms with a multitude of spicy essences. (Careful!! Do not overapply!). Then it starts to settle down and becomes a gentler, sandalwood dominated affair, enhanced by just enough amber and oakmoss. Very distinctive annd certainly worthy of my upward-pointing thumb.
I spotted a small (30ml) bottle of this in a perfume store in a mall a few weeks ago whilst on holidays in California. I remembered that it had gotten a good rating on Basenotes, so I took a flyer and bought it blind. I fell instantly in love. This is truly spectacular. A powerhouse 1980s scent tempered by a sweet core that its contemporaries lacked. My initial feeling was that if you imagined a triangle with Azaro PH, Zino and Fendi PH describing the corners, with DK Fuel for Men and a touch of Havana and something sweet in the centre, you would be close to it. But it has a shape-shifting ability that means that each time I apply it I smell something new in it, so I have abandoned the idea of trying to describe it. It has instantly risen to be one of my favourites, along with Teck and Yatagan.
To give you some idea of the complexity of Balenciaga PH, here are the official notes:
TOP: Ceylan Cinnamon; Italian Bergamot; Corriander; Thyme
MID: Patchouli; Sandalwood; Cypress; Cedar
BOTTOM: Yugoslavian Oakmoss; Vanilla Bourbon; Amber; Musk
If I could I would give it five thumbs up. I agree that it is criminal that Balenciaga discontinued this scent, and feel it would do well in a modern reissue similar to the current Aramis collection (Havana/JHL/900/etc)
EDIT: After prolonged use I must say that this is my favourite fragrance of all - and I have perhaps 300 bottles on my shelf. There is something so rich, so complete, about it that I find myself almost swooning when I apply it. This truly does need to be reissued, and now that Balenciaga is ramping up its women's perfume line, perhaps they will bring this back for us blokes.
18th January, 2011 (last edited: 15th October, 2011)
A masterpiece of the perfumery. BPH was the first scent that seduced me and one of the first I bought when I was 18. It wasn't a young juice but it was my first love. I miss you and when I go to my mother's house I smell an empty bottle that I conserve as a treasure. Come back, Balenciaga!
Best 80`s power frag I know; potent, masculine and memorable...is this the best constructed masculine scent ever...??? Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps...
I miss Balenciaga Pour Homme terribly and I pray that they consider re-issuing it. I wore this a lot during the mid-1990s and I regret not buying backup bottles. It's one of the most potent fragrances I've ever experienced, as well as the most unique and strange. The initial patchouli blast attacks you with face-punching brutality right out of the atomizer and dries down to what I consider a bizarre and almost moldy-smelling green moss accord. Basically, Balenciaga Pour Homme is a green, mossy patchouli sledgehammer with unbelieveable longevity and sillage. Hard to believe you could buy a big bottle of this masterpiece for like $15 at Marshalls just a few years ago. Two huge thumbs up for Balenciaga Pour Homme.
Balenciaga Pour Homme: i dont smell anything when i first spray it on..coz my brian gets numb on first whiff..isnt that how you feel whn you have morphine..? so i have heard.. :) Civet..civet overdose with a dash of aldehydes, and honeyed floral notes.. i simply loved this one. when i first received it, it was in a splash format (mini)...the macho that i am, i splashed a decent amount on my palm and dabbed it one liberally around neck and forarms...whoa! for those who have tested this would know exactly how that feels. it's a experience to say the least. very intense notes of honeyed florals and aldehyde with a liberal dose of vanilla (not pods..more like the ice cream itself) with an strong overdose of civet giving it a "bite". the notes may sound like it's leaning towards gourmand, but it's surprisingly not! it stays on pretty gritty for the firts hour or so thereby turning into a remarkably soft floral with a unique combination of Sandalwood, Vanilla, Incense and civet. it was an experience indeed and i enjoyed this scent every last bit :) where is my back up bottle..wouldnt ever wanna be without this one. for a quick reference, it smells like Ted Lapidus for men mixed with Kouros...now, hows that :) only difference, the basenotes is more like Lapidus pour homme than kouros.
This is for someone who likes scents like Lapidus Pour Homme and YSL Kouros.
13th August, 2009 (last edited: 18th August, 2009)
I once wore this to a party at work and someone walked in and asked who had sprayed Black Flag in the room. I never wore it again. I liked the fragrance, but I did not want to suffer that kind of humiliation again. Perhaps too outre for its own good.
I agree with Trebor, I was immediately reminded of Kouros from the opening. This stuff is less potetn in that aspect and the drydown is very different, much more powdery lemon and dry woods. Good stuff if you like the smel and scednts with excellent longevity.
This has THE booziest opening I've ever encountered. It's probably banned at A.A. meetings.
No, not about the opening. About my neutral rating.
This has got to be either a thumbs up or down, but you have to decide which.
If you like JHL, chances a you'll love this. On the other hand, if you feel you raided your grandmother's cabinet, stay away.
Especially if your grandmother was a patchouli addicted hippie.
This is Givenchy Gentleman falling down drunk at U.C. Berkeley.
28th September, 2008 (last edited: 29th April, 2012)
Posh vanilla confections infused with delicate floral perfume, virtually guarantees it's wearer won't be mistaken for a man in dim lighting.