It will come as no surprise to you that there is no Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworth, or any other corn syrup laden imitation maple sryup in my house. I mean really - you don't have to have awesome sunglasses, ironic facial hair, nor do you you have to spend $239 on a ticket to The Great GoogaMooga to know that real maple syrup is just so much better.
1) Maple syrup aromas and flavors can differ from place to place and from season to season.
Hmmm, so not all maple syrup should smell and taste the same.
2) Maple syrup must legally be at least 66% sugar when it's bottled. But maple sap as it flows from the tree has nowhere near that concentration. At the beginning of the season when the sugar runs high in the tree it can be between 4-5% sugar (or Brix, if you will). Towards the end of the season it can be less than 2% sugar. That may not seem like much of a difference, but it is. The sap is boiled in order to achieve a 66% sugar concentration, and sap at 4-5% brix requires a lot less boiling time.
3) Maple syrup is filtered before bottling in order to remove "sugar sands" and other particles. Thank goodness, too. Customers don't want to buy syrup that might throw a sediment, or appear anything other than crystal-clear. They might feel as though a cloudy syrup, or one that has crystals at the bottom of the bottle, is a lesser syrup. Better to filter it heavily, to remove those particles.
Now, I have to figure out how to score some unfiltered golden maple syrup...