It’s already a couple of weeks ago my friend Sabine send me a small envelope with a surprise from Paris. While she was shopping there with a friend, she found something and texted me right away. “Do you know this product?” It was a picture of Papier d’Armenie somewhere in a French pharmacy. She told me it was kind of like incense and that Francis Kurdkjian also worked on it. Reaction: I need to have this!
So when I came back home from camping in Poland, there was a cute envelope in my mail box with two little booklets of Papier d’Armenie including a cute card with a pug. And I wouldn’t be Kim if I didn’t totally dive into this …
What is Papier d’Armenie?
First for all my non French speaking readers, Papier d’Armenie means Armenian Paper. This is because the founder of the brand and product Auguste Ponsot noticed the local people in Armenia burned benzoin to perfume and disinfect their homes. Together with pharmacist Henri Riever. the dueo created the product as I will show you in the pictures. Papier d’Armenie, a small book with scented paper that burns slowly with no flame. You can say that Papier d’Armenie is a more modern way of burning benzoin in your home.
I suggest you watch the video (make sure you put on your subtitles unless you speak French).
Benzoin and the process of making Papier d’Armenie
Most of the time benzoin is used as a fixative in the fragrance industry. Known for it’s sweet and vanilla scent. There are many fragrances that contain benzoin that are still popular nowadays, for example: Prada Cancy, Guerlain Shalimar, Roberto Cavalli Edp, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Cologne Pur Le Soir, Patch Flash by Andy Tauer and Cinema by YSL and many more. What all these perfumes have in common is this warm, almost creamy balsamic vanilla tone which is made possible by… (you already guessed it) Benzoin.
Benzoin is also the main ingredient for Papier d’Armenie. But before we talk about what this little piece of paper smells like, I will tell you what benzoin exactly is.
Benzoin is a resin that comes from styrax. The tree has to have a specific diameter before there can be made ‘cuts’ so the tree wil ‘cry’ and the resin wil come uit. It takes about six months before the resin can be harvested, and one tree produces one to three kilograms of benzoin each year. Styrax resin has a content of 25% benzoic acid, which gives it its anti-sceptic properties.
It takes six months to create a booklet of Papier d’Armenie, the company uses secret ingredients to give the papers their own special and unique scent. I suggest you read this if you want to know more about the producution process.
In 2006, the celebrated French perfumer of Armenian origin Francis Kurkdjian gave his own recreation of the historical recipe. You can also buy candles on the official website of Papier d’Armenie that are created by mister Kurkdjian himself.
How do I use Papier d’Armenie
Personally, I like to burn my Papier d’Armenie on a keramic plate. Mine actually belonged to a candle I used to have a while ago. I suggest using something like this so it won’t burn down your house. You start by folding the piece of paper accordion-style, and place it on a heat-resistant plate. Get your lighter, and make sure you burn the paper only a little bit. (You don’t want to have a flame going on). Mosts of the time I like to blow a little so the paper starts to glow and the smoke fills the air like incense. I just leave it where it is for most of the time but sometimes I like to walk around my living room with the plate so the scent will be more prominent.
It’s recommended to burn around 3 to 4 strips a week, the fragrance lasts (in my small living room) for around 4 hours.
How does it smell
I own two kind of fragrances, one is called La Rose and the other one Triple. Personally I prefer the rose scented papers but now and then I use the tripe ones. You can smell a subtile vanilla, powdery, almost vanilla kind of fragrance. What I also like is that it really purifies the air. Especially if you have pets it is a nice way to make your home smell nice and clean.
I do imagine that most people wil find the scent a little bit too ‘old fashioned’, since it smells very powdery and sweet. However, I personally think it’s a very elegant and classy way of cleaning the house. I also read online that smokers can use it to get rid of the smell of cigarettes in the house.
Overall, I am really impressed with this product and so happy Sabiene introduced me to this. There are many websites where you can order Papier d’Armenie from, and the best part is: It’s SUPER cheap !