I recently brewed Jamil's Amber Waves and substituted NZ Hallertau and Magnum for the bittering hops. I took my first sample yesterday and the malt flavor is spot on, but there is a subtle earthy/herbal/dark fruit taste in there I object to. I also noticed this flavor in a bock I did earlier this year that used the same hops for bittering. I had originally attributed that taste to the Wyeast 2112 strain, but I'm now thinking it's the NZ Hallertau. I was under the impression that early hop additions would lose all of their flavor, but this evidence seems to contradict that.
So I'm asking the HBT folks:
1 - Is some flavor actually contributed by bittering hops?
2 - Am I the only one who finds the subtle flavor of NZ Hallertau objectionable?