First, the MSDS indicates this is a Metol-Hydroquinone developer. Second, it does not makes sense to say Metol-only developers are prone to any kind of sudden death. The shelf life of a developer depends on the entire formula. Even packaging is an important variable.
Rollei RLS is identical to CG512 and similar to Perceptol and Microdol-X. All these developers give slightly finer grain by giving some speed.
Perceptol and Microdol-X are based on D-23, purportedly with slightly less Metol, and the addition of Sodium Chloride. Microdol-X included an anti-silvering/plating agent.
RLS is a MQ developer, which is not the same thing. Further, there is nothing inherently abnormal about the keeping properties of D-23 type developers once mixed, not are they prone to any kind of inherent "sudden death".
RLS is a different formula and is packaged as a liquid. A one-part liquid developer requires careful formulation and packaging if it is to have a long shelf life.
I am sure that B&H and then Rollei will want to know about this. It may not help you other than in terms of compensation but it should help others. If Rollei has produced totally defective developer then in the quantities it is made you can be sure that it wasn't just your container. Maybe 100's of others are experiencing the same issue or are about to ruin their films in the same way.
By the way I keep hens and will never feed them by hand again. Next time it is the lion tamer's chair when I go into the henhouse
Let us know what B&H has to say.
I'll be back in NYC in a few weeks and will return the developer. Can anyone recommend a better place for film in NYC or am I better off ordering online from freestyle etc. ?
Developer will likely not smell like ammonia unless fixer was poured into it. Think about this for a minute. How did fixer get into the developer, or developer get into the fixer, and how did that affect film developing?
But seriously, the four bottles were shrink wrapped and I didn't have any fix near them or on my hands. The smell comes from freshly opened bottles.