Deffinately not the problem. Just changed them in November and power washed the engine. It's deffinately clean and dry.It could also be leaking out through the valve cover gaskets. That is the issue I have, oil leaks through the rear bank valve cover gasket onto the exhaust and it sometimes smells inside the car. Just take a look at your gaskets when you have a chance, I'm actually changing mine this spring
Valve stem seals can cause it. So can worn piston rings.
Tried using thicker oil? Heaps of people are crazy using new synthetic thin oils on our old engines. I'd be using no less than 10W- oil. I currently use 20W-50 and it works fine. They're older engines anyways with many thousands of kms.
Actually it's very quiet and probably takes less than 30 seconds or so on cold start. When I was using semi synthetic thinner oil (10W-50) it was louder and didn't go away easily.How's the hydraulic lifter noise with 20w-50? I'm assuming it takes a little longer to quieten down.