In particular, Gentoo. I did (very seriously) consider a BSD -- but would have always preferred a linux distro because I can get Steam working and I saw that the BSD kernel was dropping Linux ELF compat for security reasons (which may make sense -- I'm not here to judge).
I used Debian (or a derivative -- Mint, Ubuntu, and, very long ago, Corel Linux, but we don't have to dwell on that...) for around 16 years. When my Ubuntu box started getting insanely slow, I thought it was perhaps time to just go back to vanilla Debian. Turns out the problems persisted there too. Long boot times (minutes when win10 would boot in about 30 seconds to a usable desktop). Longer shutdown / reboot times (even more minutes when, again, win10 on the same machine would shut down in about 15s). 10-30 seconds to open a freakin' Konsole session -- and it wasn't Konsole: the window would show, black, waiting for a prompt.
I honestly couldn't stand that my win10 install was faster in every respect than my Linux install on the same hardware. It's just not right.
I put some research into which distros supported OpenRC. Arch does -- but it's not the default. Gentoo does -- and it's the default (and you don't need it if you don't want a masochist's desktop).
Yes, there's no pretty installer. There's a handbook and it's very informative. No, Gentoo is not about to woo casual desktop users and sub-par "administrators" who couldn't install grub without a lot of babying, but Gentoo gave me back my i7 3770 with 16 Gb RAM -- once again, I have a machine which is a total pleasure to use, even with a heavy desktop like KDE (plasma5).
I put up with the audio latency of PulseAudio in Debian because it meant I didn't have to learn the voodoo of
PA also had annoyances (apart from the latency) like not remembering the default device and being plain flaky (so much so that I seriously wrote a cron'd script to bring it back up again because it crashed so often).
Then I heard that the same banana was taking over the init system in the most non-UNIX way possible and I just held on for the ride. I didn't want to give up my beloved Debian.
About a month in to using Gentoo and I wish I'd done this at least a year and a half ago, when I lost my patience with my slow Ubuntu install and switched back to a (not all that much faster) vanilla Debian install.
Gentoo is (probably) great for the same reasons *BSDs are great -- heck, portage only exists because of the inspiration of ports. Huzzah! It's like I can have the benefits of BSD and Linux all at once!
Compiling your own packages can make you feel like a hero -- but it's not the reason why my system flies now (heck, even my browser (palemoon) is using about 1/10 the memory it was before (300-500mb vs 3-5 gig)). One reason is that you don't have to accept "features" (PA, systemd) that you don't want support for in your apps. The other reason is simply that that Poettering crapware isn't on my system any more.