Le Club de Balenciaga / Ho Hang Club fragrance notes

  • Head

    • bergamot, lemon, coriander, basil
  • Heart

    • thyme, rose, orris, cypress, geranium, carnation, cardamom
  • Base

    • olibanum, styrax, musk, moss, patchouli, leather, amber

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Latest Reviews of Le Club de Balenciaga / Ho Hang Club

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If Salvador Dali had a twin brother - this would be his scent.
Born the same year as Dali pour Homme, they have a similar fruity-aromatic and woody theme but the Dali is brighter. Ever the showman, Dali puts Ho Hang Club in the shade.
Which could be why that has survived and this a rarity.
Putting them head-to-head, it's easy to see why.
Lacking presence, this was outdone by its flashy sibling.
8th September 2022
It's no secret that woody chypres like Ho Hang Club have been out of style now for a few decades. The dry, bitter qualities are the absolute antithesis of your modern, liberal, urban, effete, and unisex "mens" fragrances which currently flood the market. Ho Hang Club is all about development, all about how a complex fragrance takes time to unfold... and all about the charm of enjoying that happen on your skin over time. It makes me think of ancient times: a bracing, herbal elixir which alerts the nostrils with a strong, yet fluid, tangle of roots, beautifully softened with flowers.

A powerful masculine scent of strongly floral/herbal/earthy notes peerless in it's complexity. Ho Hang Club may start very fresh due to the basil note but turns quickly floral (sharp carnation,earthy geranium) before dry vetiver, smooth oakmoss, strong musk and patchouli. Dominate the whole composition. This is how a woody chypre of quality should smell complex and captivating. If this had Tom Ford's name on it; then you would pay $300-400 per bottle. An authentic gem.
5th May 2022

Less honey & civet(urine) than Boss (no number one),
not as dark as Dali Pour Homme,
sits perfectly in the middle with good blending, quality ingredients, and additional notes.

My splash bottle decanted into an atomizer was lacking in longevity, but with only 2.5 sprays maybe I just needed another full squirt.

4.5/5.0. Worth every penny at today's prices.
31st January 2020
This, is one of those great, late 80's scents. Masculine to the nth degree. Well made, well-blended. Smooth citrus. Calming herbs. Manly flowers - not cloying or wispy. Earth-like, olibanum & styrax give a low, resinous layer. Leather is cool and refined.

Earthiness increases over time. A smoke-like accord develops. Leather note increases. This, is a marvelous creation. 4 stars.
23rd March 2019
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 Le Club de Balenciaga (1987), which would be presented in some places as a new Ho Hang flanker. This "Ho Hang Club" would feel like a rebirth, as all indicators point to it smelling nothing at all like the original from which it borrows a name in some markets. 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 becoming popular for men in 1987. It has the strength of a powerhouse, but a darker style like Salvador Dali Pour Homme (1987) or Jacomo de Jacomo (1980), just minus the smoke.

Ho Hang Club is definitely late 70's/early 80's super-macho "kitchen sink" construction, but by 1987 this virile style was starting to get padded out by brighter, spicier, and often fruit-topped openings and musks smoothed by patchouli in the base for a sauve attitude rather than an aggressive one. The similarly domineering Lapidus Pour Homme of the same year also made by The Bogart Group is a good example of the flamboyant sweet-talking direction chauvinism in fragrances was taking. 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 musky 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 with a bit less patchouli growl. Instead, a bouquet of rosy florals similar to Révillion's French Line (1984) or Azzaro Acteur (1989) come into play, but the rose presence in Ho Hang Club is muted by carnation. Some call this a leather scent, but to me the leather is part of a chypre whole and less present than it is in the oft-compared Maxim's Pour Homme (1988), which itself uses stiff castoreum for the note. 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 wafts off collars and skin all day long, so it's certainly a performer where it really matters most. I'd go so far as to say this is a great all-day scent in fall or winter but whether or not one wishes to smell something this heady all day is up for debate.

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 the aforementioned Salvador Dali Pour Homme, Boss/Boss Number One by Hugo Boss (1985), and to an extent the way over-the-top Alain Delon Iquitos (1987). Ho Hang Club trades in the original's bathrobe and loafers for a pair of wing tips and a brandy cordial, making it rest between Dali and Révillion's underdog French Line in attitude. 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 outside collectors. 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 after of all the old male lines because it is indeed so saturnine. It's a Guillermo del Toro movie in a bottle: Esoteric, gorgeous, but a little bit unsettling. Suggested use is formal romantic wear or just personal time in on days you account to no one. Ho Hang Club isn't low-key enough for offices, but might be nice for a night at a jazz club. Fans of Ho Hang's understated grace might find this less of a dream and more of a nightmare, but for the fans of melancholy and romance with a kick-in-the-crotch bite, Le Club de Balenciaga/Ho Hang Club is a winner. Thumbs up.
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
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