Last week I was at a breakfast place in a Maine resort town and had some pancakes. The offered "real" maple syrup at extra cost, so I asked for it. It came in a plastic dish so I could not see the container.
It tasted like fake syrup to me, that bland taste. Normally, with real maple syrup I expect it to be pungent and "maple-ly" tasting, kind of like Laphroaig has a strong taste compared to Oban. Is this not an accurate expectation? Do real maple syrups have a range of tastes, including the bland store bought taste, or do all real syrups have a strong and unmistakable taste?
There is enough variation in maple syrup that grading systems (regionally different) have been introduced, treating each grade as a separate kind of merchandise. Actually, the more expensive stuff (grade A/AA) is subtler and might appear weak to someone used to the more flavourful and darker B/C grades.