However, in an ideal world where everyone is sub 12% body-fat I would say bulk first. Purely for the fact that when doing a lean bulk you gradually increase your caloric intake until you hit your ‘caloric ceiling’. Your caloric ceiling is the point at which your body cannot handle increasing any more kcal without seeing increases in body-fat. This point varies from person to person.
Now you know your caloric ceiling, when it comes to cutting you would simply slowly bring them kcal back down until you are in a deficit of roughly 500 kcal. This way you are able to perform at your optimal and retain as much muscle mass as possible whilst dropping body fat.
But, as this is not an ideal world not everyone is sub 12% body-fat. This makes finding your caloric ceiling a problem as you will struggle to see when you start to gain body-fat. You might look at the scales and think ‘I’m getting heavier, it must be fat’. Chances are this is not going to be the case. If you’re following a decent training regime then you will be gaining muscle, which will in turn cause you to get heavier.
This is why I would suggest that if you are above 15% body fat, then cut to the point at which you will be able to see increases in fat.