Papier d’Arménie is the oldest room freshener in paper form, produced in France since 1885. Its scent of slightly sweet vanilla with a touch of balsam from styrax resin conjures up the orient. The paper strips are soaked in styrax resin (also known as benzoin) dissolved in alcohol, and are excellent at neutralizing unpleasant odors. To use, simply fold a strip accordion-like, light it and immediately blow out again and let it smolder.
"Tradition": first produced in 1885, has sweet, vanilla and balsamic notes evocative of the Far East.
"Arménie": The aromas of incense and myrrh fit well with the woody and vanilla notes. The booklet is the outcome of a meeting Francis Kurkdjian, the famous perfumer.
"Rose": redesigned by Francis Kurkdjian. With roses imported from Iran and Turkey, it builds a dual fragrance conveyed by a full-bodied rose, fruity as petal jam with a mellow touch.
The clarifying and (due to the 25% share of benzoic acid) partly antiseptic properties of Styrax learned Auguste Ponsot 1885 on a trip through Armenia, where the fragrant tree resin was traditionally smoked in the houses to clarify the air and to scent the rooms. Impressed by its beneficial properties and ease of use, he brought it to France. His business partner and pharmacist Henri River found that styrax could be dissolved in alcohol (it takes two months to do so) and mixed with other fragrances. Placed on a carrier substance, a kind of blotting paper, the scent can be released unaltered by glowing the paper.
To this day, the Papier d’Arménie is produced by hand in an elaborate process that takes six months. Only the resin of the genuine Styrax tree (Styrax officinalis), which is extracted in Laos, is used. Production is still in the Parisian suburb of Montrouge, where Mireille Schvartz, the great-granddaughter of Henri Rivier, continues the family business today and has added several products and fragrances to the portfolio.