Tuesday 30 May 2017


"The Grooming Guru", it's quite a title but one which has definitely been earned by Lee Kynaston. A journalist for over twenty years, and a go-to for your daily insight into the workings of the male mind, Lee has observed, advised and even led the way on everything to do with men. So, after commenting on everyone else I thought it was about time we found out a little bit about the man himself during “Stephan’s Six”.

What is the first smell that you can remember?
Those who know me best know I have an absolutely appalling memory. Frankly, I’m lucky if I can remember what I had for lunch yesterday. Having said that, what does have strong childhood associations for me is the smell of Play-Doh. No smell takes me back to my youth quite like the smell of Play-Doh. For me, it’s the memory of unfettered creativity. Even now, I keep a pot on my desk and have a quick sniff whenever I want to tap into that childhood playfulness.

What was the first perfume you remember your mum or dad wearing?
I grew up in the 1970s and my dad, no longer with us sadly, only ever had one scent and that was Old Spice, though he may well have briefly flirted with Brut. Although much maligned these days, in the UK at least, Old Spice is actually a wonderful creation if you strip away all the baggage (mainly those terribly Seventies ads). I mean, it has that distinctive carnation note! What’s not to love? I cannot smell it without instantly thinking of my dad, standing in the bathroom of our family home splashing his face with the fragrance (this is in the days before we knew better than to put aftershave on freshly shaven skin remember!).

What was the perfume of your twenties?
My one true love affair with fragrance is with Geoffrey Beene’s Grey Flannel. Although launched in 1975 I didn’t discover it until the mid Eighties and fell in love as much as you can with a fragrance. More than thirty years on I’m still wearing it. It’s a fragrance that’s been with me through thick and thin; through good times and bad; through love and through loss. I save it for special occasions now and live in abject fear that it will one day be discontinued!

What was your biggest perfume mistake?
There are quiet a few but most are to do with overdoing things. Even though I’m always writing about how important it is not to go overboard even I fall foul of this most egregious of fragrance faux pas sometimes. It usually happens with powerful, bombastic scents for which the maxim “less is more” was invented! I remember wearing Chanel’s legendary Antaeus once on the Tube in London and a woman sitting next to me actually got up and moved seats! The shame!

You can only choose one perfume?
Grey Flannel, naturally, because it’s the scent-track of my entire adult life. Can you have a scent-track in the same way you can have soundtrack? If I’m not wearing that you can find me wearing Helmut Lang Eau de Cologne, Tom Ford Noir, Givenchy Gentleman or Lagerfeld Classic. Like a lot of people, I can be quite promiscuous when it comes to fragrance but I always come back to my first love.

What perfume should I try?
Any of the one ones mentioned above, obviously, because who doesn’t want other people to appreciate their favourite fragrances? More recently I’ve loved Kilian’s Straight To Heaven Extreme and, on the mass-market front, Gucci Guilty Absolute. I also have a real thing for Peau de Bete by Les Liquides Imaginaires, which is sex in a bottle. And really dirty sex at that.

For more information on Lee Kynaston (aka Grooming Guru) you can go to his website at groomingguru.co.uk or visit fashionbeans.com to read his latest observations.


  1. Another interesting and entertaining article. He's a great guy.

    1. Glad that you enjoyed it. Play-Doh has come up a few times in "Stephan's Six", maybe life was simpler when we were kids! Best, Stephan