Eh, hype is always annoying. I try to avoid it and make my own judgements when I can, but I'd be lying to say that I don't seek out certain fragrances if they have good reviews.
As for your questions:
1. The drydown comes about an hour or so into the fragrance, at least the one time I wore it. It smells to me like cloves, some other spices, and the vanilla that later becomes the drydown. I love the opening, others tend not to.
2. According to a lot of people on YT and Facebook, Meharees smells like it a fair bit.
3. I can't generalize 3.5 billion people.