It is still quite early in my oud journey, but I have bought samples or bottles from most artisans here and from other sources too, both on the higher or lower ends, so can reflect already a bit. What interests me more is... First the facts: geographical location (as specfic as possible), species of tresss, age of trees, cultivated or wild, year of distillation, distillation methods, soaked or not and for how long, etc. I liked to cross check my subjective experiences with facts so as to understand more and more. If I ever learn people vendors lie on them, it is likely I will first write to them to inquire and try to cross check info from ohter sources, and then cut relationship with them if it confirms, as Truth is a core moral and spiritual value for me and people who abuse it make in my eyes a serious offense to the world. This said, I do like stories too. I am a storyteller as well (it is notable part of my freelance portfolio - playwright, sometimes scenarios, essayist etc. - but I do other things as well) so I relate to the deforming mirror of a subjective voice. In the present case, I need the story to have some relevant refraction and echo with what my experience will be, so I am most interested in the descriptive / evocative part of the oud experience itself, not in the "yeti hunt" or the grandfather's who was a sensualist rajas' friends and who kept oils in a secret treasure chet just discovered or other mythologies evoked by @jensz. Like @Oudamberlove but of course with less experience, I start to get a feel for the different ways vendors evoke their products, etc. What is crucial for me is that it is not utter maketing bullshit, in our age where "storytelling" has become a negative term becasue of the marketing abuses. Here too, abuse will keep me away from vendors. Stories remain a good way for me to get a first feel about an oil from a distance and it is likely what will decide me to chosse a sample over another (especially as I tend to prefer bigger samples when I try things out because I like to wear and explore them many times before getting a full feel). Also, I have remarked that the worst oils I have gotten so far (from vendors outside of here) and the mediocre/ not-really-interesting ones come from vendors who do not take the effort to write in depth descriptive stories. I don't think it is only a coincidence (but it might be) Finally, I am very receptive about the energetic, medicinal, spiritual and psychoactive properties of oud, so I enjoy getting info about this too... or at least hints: hence, I am particularly interested also in descriptions of projection, sillage, duration on skin, "oudiness", "oomphiness" etc. because they do give hints on that regard (as do other elements of the "stories" and reviews by others - which are also crucial for me but have been discussed in the previous posts of the thread) An oil that smells pretty, or even surprising and complex, but that "does nothing to me" regarding these properties has little interest and value to me. and I have a couple of excellent ouds (quality wise) here that I would never buy in full bottle just for that reason. I am an olfactory gourmet and I genuinely love the olfactory explorations of ouds, but I also have an archive of many hundreds (I don't count) of other high quality cured esssntial oils that give me olfactory bliss on their own or in the way I blend them and that do also provoke intersting things energetically, so waht I am really looking in oud is a distinctive quality in that regard.... and all the info I get get my hands on beofre ordering samples. Also the vendors's info & stories (and other reviews I have read) will serve after the experience for comparison as I save everything in a database and compare vendor's info with my personal subjective notes. So I actually find it a very useful tool - when the info as some relevance - for learning / expanding knowledge.