Last month I made 3 gallons of IPA with 4.1 ounces of homegrown Cascades (from 2009), all hopbursted at 16 minutes left to boil. This was my first hopbursted beer and it turned out fantastic -- I couldn't have asked for any better. The bitterness is just about exactly what I expected, maybe just barely on the lower end but that sure doesn't bother a malt-head like me. I still get plenty of hop aroma and flavor, as well as a smooth but firm bitterness. As you'd expect, I get a lot of grapefruit from mine. Not anything I would really consider tropical. Who knows -- perhaps if I had used these back in 2009 when they were still fresh, the result might be a lot different. But even after a year of aging, I am still very pleased with the result. Vacuum packing and refrigeration obviously works very well in preserving hop character, including alpha acids.
Regarding differences in flavors from standard expectations, besides aging, I bet it also makes a considerable difference where the hops are grown. I'm in Wisconsin, a good 150 miles or so northeast of Gorst Valley, for whatever that is worth (probably nothing). But what I can tell you is that based on my own hop plants, it seems that we in Wisconsin are lucky in that our hops are always very much duplicative to what is commercially available, i.e., my Cascades taste very much like they could have come from Cascadia, and my Hallertauers are as spicy and herbal or better as what you'd expect from old world Germany. But the same rhizomes grown in other locations or continents might not end up anywhere close to the same expectations. I haven't tried them yet, but for example, it has been said that the Argentinian Cascades are quite different from the Pacific Northwest. Same definitely holds true for English vs. American Goldings, American vs. German Northern Brewer, etc.