Ho Hang by Balenciaga {Perfume Review & Musings} {Men's Cologne of the Week}




Ho Hang by Balenciaga was created by nose Jacques Jantzen in 1971. It is classified as an aromatic fougère. The Eau de Toilette features top notes of bergamot, lemon, orange, basil, mint. Heart notes are rosewood, geranium, carnation, lavender, nutmeg, and pimento. Base notes are patchouli, vetiver, sandalwood, amber, vanilla, Tonka, labdanum, and musk....


Ho Hang offers a classic feel at first with its fougère accord, but at the same time it reveals certain rich nuances that make it be less predictable, more feminine, and Oriental. It has a lovely rosewood note that subtly warms up the perfume and gives it a delicate woodsy Oriental character calling to mind images of East Asian lacquered panels. Since no "Bois de Hô" note (Cinnamomum camphora) is mentioned one is not sure it was included in the composition but the material is known for offering a scent similar to that of rosewood and being an adequate substitute. If you like the exotic character of Kisu by Tann Rokka, you will find more of the same in Ho Hang. My Sin by Lanvin also comes to mind as another perfume that has affinities with this one.

Balenciaga_Ho_Hang_ad_1972.jpgHo Hang unexpectedly develops a floral bouquet rich enough to make one wonder what that exotic floral perfume suffusing the air is before realizing one is wearing it. As far as I can tell, the sillage is very rich, exotic, and despite the masculine lavender cologne accord, can be perceived as gorgeously feminine (advert above discovered and added in 2013 proves it is by design and not just a subjective take on our part). Underneath the freshness and the floralcy there is a discrete powdery undercurrent that seems to be based on carnation and orris and reinforces the refined and feminine character of the fragrance. There is also a very true animalic accord; it smells exactly like the fur of an animal for a few moments.

Ho Hang is fairly light but very persistent, accompanying your dreams and still at your side in the morning. It is very well blended making the scent be more akin to a richly-woven tapestry than a theater stage where certain notes playing the parts of characters appear in dramatic succession and make you think about events in a story. Here one will have more the impression of finding an aesthetically and sensually pleasing finished object like an ajouré golden ball incrusted with precious stones that one will delight in picking up and bringing up closer to the nose to discover with added wonder that it contained a fragrant mix of incense, spices, woods, powder, and flowers.

You can easily find Ho Hang at numerous online discounters. 

More reviews:

Eau d'Italie Paestum Rose, Sienne L'Hiver, Bois d'Ombrie (2006)

Dianthus by Etro (2006)

Balahé by Léonard (1983)

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9 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Thanks for a lovely review! I've often wondered about this one, as I like many others from Balenciaga, so I see I will have to add it to my "must try" list.

  2. Thank you AnnE. Very much worth sniffing indeed. I keep being surprised by how good the perfume smells.

  3. Yes, you've got me intrigued by Ho Hang as well. I'm a fool for the classic Balenciagas, Quadrille and Le Dix, which I both own in the vintage. And that reference to My Sin, which I've grown to love in spite of my trouble with aldehydes, makes me very curious about this. Quand j'aurai des sous!

  4. I've never tried this, it sounds like I should!

  5. Carmen,

    Did you try the recent Alamut by Villoresi? It also reminded me of the vintage My Sin and if only for that reason makes me want to get it. It smells darn good too.

  6. March,

    It just does the job well, you'll have to try it. It is an alluring exotic and refined woodsy scent.

  7. Alamut? No, I don't even know where to find Villoresi fragrances in Paris... Another one to put on the list when my cash-flow reverts to its usual trickle.

  8. Having been a flight attendant traveling all over the world. Found Ho Hang in Paris. States did not import this item at the time. This is the most wonderful treasure I found during my travels. So difficult to find in the States. I live in the tropics; on a small boat. It is so hot and humid. Ho Hang is the only product that is not heavy, nor , sweet. . . pure, clean and a fabulous freshness. I do hope I am able to order this. I am now 68. Sure do not need a musky smell. :-)

    • What an exotic way to wear Ho Hang :) It adds to its story :)

      Chant Wagner

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