Home fragrance: Papier d’Armenie, part 2

Papier d'Armenie, La Rose

Back in 2006, Kevin wrote a detailed post about Papier d'Arménie, the traditional French incense papers soaked in an alcohol-based mixture of benzoin and other aromatics. At the time, he sent me some to try, and I've since purchased more. I've continued to use them from time to time as an easy (and cheap) way to scent my home — all you do is rip a small sheet out of the package, fold it like an accordian, and light it.1 I like the scent best from a room or so away (as Kevin pointed out, it can smell a bit harsh from close up), and I like it even better unburned; a few loose papers will nicely scent a drawer.

Later, I got my hands on some of the La Rose papers (see above) that perfumer Francis Kurkdjian developed for the Papier d'Arménie brand in 2009.2 These smell just fabulous unlit: sweeter, creamier, more floral and less harsh than the original. Burned, I do like them a little better than the originals, but the rose is much clearer in the unlit paper. And again, they work nicely as sachets.

Papier d'Armenie, Armenia Year version

But the reason for today's post is a more recent discovery, although it was released earlier: the Francis Kurkdjian version of Papier d'Arménie developed for the "Year of Armenia in France" in 2006 (see just above; blue cover). This is the perfect Papier d'Arménie. It is even creamier and sweeter than La Rose — the powdery myrrh, incense, benzoin and vanilla scent of the unlit paper would be wonderful in a personal fragrance (or dusting powder) and would make a nice follow up to Guerlain's Bois d'Armenie. A just-opened booklet sitting on my desk perfumed my office for days; in a perfect world, I'd have a fresh one delivered every week. As with the others, I like it better unlit than burned, but even burned, it retains some of the creamy deliciousness of the paper. I've burned one nearly every day since I got my precious few booklets, and I've put individual papers in several of my dresser drawers. I also stuck one in the top drawer of my night table so that for a few days, it was the last thing I smelled as I drifted off to sleep. Next, I may try one slipped inside my pillowcase to see if the scent lasts longer that way.

Beautyhabit carries Papier d'Arménie in the original and La Rose scents ($7 a booklet). All three Papier d'Arménie fragrances are easily found on eBay.

Papier d'Arménie now also makes candles in all three fragrances, although so far, the only one of the three that seems to be available in the US is the original scent ($48 at Beautyhabit). One of these days, I'll bite the bullet and have one of the Armenia Year candles shipped from France.

1. I usually twist one end and jam the paper in a stick incense burner, but you can just light it and set it in a dish, or you can buy one of the lovely terracotta burners from Beautyhabit.

2. Maybe Kevin sent me those too? Somebody did, so thank you to whomever it was. Also note that Francis Kurkdjian has since developed a series of incense papers for his own Maison de Francis Kurkdjian brand. They come in three fragrances: Lumière Noire, APOM and Aqua Universalis, but they're much more expensive at $25 per booklet (at Luckyscent). I have not tried them, if you have, do comment! 

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  1. Abyss says:

    Ahem…… sold! Just ordered one of each from an ebay seller in France.

    I’ve heard about these but have no experience so, while I’m waiting for the postman, I’d like to know more – how many do you you get per booklet, how long do they last when unlit, does the scent linger after burning, etc? Yeah, I probably should have asked before hitting the buy button.

    • Robin says:

      Each booklet has 12 sheets, each sheet is perforated into 3 strips. The scent lingers for a bit…hate to say how long, it probably depends on your house? Maybe an hour or so in my house. The original purpose, I think, was more as a “deodorizer” than a scenting agent.

      They last for ages unlit, just that the “sillage” of the unlit paper gets a bit less after some months. I keep them in plastic baggies, which probably helps.

      Hope you will like them! If you hate them, you can sell them to me.

      • Abyss says:

        Thanks, Robin! I’m liking all the suggestions for using them in drawers and bags.

        I really loved the benzoin candle that Diptyque did a couple of Christmases ago which is why these sounded instantly appealing particularly since they are so much more affordable.

        • Robin says:

          No kidding about affordable…it really upsets me, probably more than it should, when I shell out for a candle and then don’t like it. Which I’ve done more than once.

  2. Marcella says:

    I used to keep the papier La Rose in my leather bag and such blend was really my best fragrance ever. I’m really obsessed trying to find a personal fragrance like this. I haven’t find anything not even close.

  3. Alyssa says:

    Ooh! I’ve only ever tried the much pricier Santa Maria Novella version (which aren’t harsh at all, so maybe worth the price?). I’m eager to try these.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, thank you, forgot that SMN made them — I did used to know that.

  4. Alyssa says:

    Aaand an assortment of all three ordered and paid for. Your work here is done, R. :-)

    • Robin says:

      Always happy to enable, esp. at such a bargain price :-)

  5. Jessica says:

    Ooh! I’ve only tried the originals. Now I want to try the Rose and the FK!

    I did once own, and use up, FK’s own Aqua Universalis burning papers. They smelled fresh and crisp, in the most chic and modern way.

    • Robin says:

      Ah, good to know, thanks! I had assumed he would make something more chic & modern than these — these are old-fashioned, although in a good way.

  6. Zazie says:

    I love the papier d’armenie concept (scented papers that burn quickly and leave a wonderful smell behind – and as you point out, they are very effective also unlit!).
    May I urge you (and everyone liking these papers) to try out the Santa Maria Novella version? Their “carta d’armenia” smells beyond fabulous, there’s no comparing it with the other “papers” I’ve tried so far!
    It would make a wonderful perfume!

    • Robin says:

      Thanks! 18 strips for $28 at Aedes for anyone else who is interested.

      I am tempted, but that’s possibly more than I’ll spend. I might have to wait for another family member to visit Florence!

  7. Robin says:

    Oh, and had forgotten but will add for anyone who is interested: Victoria did a post last year on making your own incense papers — just found it while searching for the SMN version:


  8. Kelly Red says:

    Oh you people are horrible!! I also just ordered 2 booklets on Ebay of the FK version. I have the original and love to burn one to refresh the house, but this scent really appeals to me. Sometimes I really do think I should limit the time I spend reading this site. But no no just kidding I’d go through withdrawl!

    • Robin says:

      We really are horrible. You could at least ONLY read the posts in the cheap thrills tag?

      • Kelly Red says:

        Oh but see you’ve also fairly ruined me for cheap. All those lovely niche and discontinued scents, all those wonderful expensive little gems. LOL My favorite read of the day is NST, but you are dangerous I tell you. dangerous.

    • Abyss says:

      I’m imagining a few ebay sellers puzzled by the sudden influx of orders.

  9. maggiecat says:

    I’m smiling at the idea of puzzled ebay sellers :-) I’ve heard about these but have never tried them. You all ARE a group of enablers, aren’t you? We love you anyway though…or maybe because!

  10. Jillie says:

    Thank you, Robin! I love the original papiers, and now with grateful acknowledgement to you and Abyss, I have ordered a pack of all three varieties from said eBay person in France, who as Abyss says, must be waking up this morning thinking “What…….?”.

    Yes, I would be richer if I didn’t read perfume blogs, but my life would be poorer without all the lovely smells.

    • Robin says:

      Hope you will love them! Last night I put a sheet in my yoga bag and another in my wallet…

  11. Mary says:

    I live in Holland and last year by surprise I discovered the ones with the Francis Kurkdjian version and since then bought them several times as a little gift. I also put one or two leaflets in my vacuumcleaner now and then. I am not a fan of the rose edition but the other two are very very special.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, interesting idea! You put them outside the vacuum bag?

  12. donanicola says:

    Being the loving human companion to a cat who prefers to use a litter tray rather than go out……….I have found the original papier’dArmenie papers indispensable at toilet time. Then last year I found the FK ones whilst on holiday in France. They are SO much more beautiful, just as you describe, Robin! I sadly used the last one a couple of weeks ago but must try to replenish stock SOMEHOW…..

    • Robin says:

      Oh, that is just what Kevin said they were perfect for!

  13. Jillie says:

    Update! My papers have already arrived from France (I am in the UK, so am quite near but am impressed by the speedy service) – and I love them all. As you said Robin, I almost prefer them unlit, but now that I have burnt a couple, the whole house is pleasantly scented, and it smells like I used a really expensive incense. Once again, thank you for the info.

    • Robin says:

      So glad you like them! Which scent do you like best?

      • Jillie says:

        I keep changing my mind! Unlit, I think I prefer the rose, but if burning I think it’s the lovely amber of the original I like best. But who knows, I could change my mind tomorrow. I will follow your example and find lots of places to pop them in to spread the scent – drawers in dressers is an excellent idea.

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