I’ve always bought my hops from the local homebrew store. The guy there buys big packages (5kg) then splits them into 30g bags and refrigerates them. I don’t know when they come from, if they’re fresh, how long ago they were opened etc.
I have the impression that sometimes the hops are very aromatic, sometimes not as much. This is with the same variety.
What do you guys think, can handling hops like this affect aroma or am I overthinking?
I think that it definitely impacts aroma and flavor- just like any other food product. How much depends on how they were handled (were the hops sealed quickly, was the repackaging area hot, was there wind (which speeds oxidation) or not? We know that time will impact the alpha acids (the Hop Directory is a good resource for this; each variety there is rated for storage impact). I put the harvest year on my hop packs for this reason. There’s nothing wrong with aged hops, and when I was brewing a lot of Belgian style ales, I was using older hops on purpose. It’s all about information, and being able to make an informed choice.