Painfully shy, Aftel would only interact with Cohen via correspondence. For two decades, she dodged his many invitations to meet. Only when he lay dying of leukemia did she relent. "He was just so kind and generous about me and my work," she remembered of their meeting. "I was so scared, I wanted to leave right away, but he said, 'I have a new song. Would you like to hear it?' I kept thinking, 'Don't start crying!' So, he played it for me, and it was unbelievable, and he just went on until he had played the whole album. And, I just don't have words for what a transcendent experience love is."
— Perfumer Mandy Aftel talks about her friendship with Leonard Cohen, and many other perfume matters including her fragrance Memento Mori, in A perfumer's obsessive quest to recreate the fragrance of lost love at Salon.