How To Evaluate Taste

To many consumers’ surprise, not all maple syrups taste the same. Not even close!

Many attributes should be considered when evaluating maple syrup: Appearance, Flavor, Taste, Aftertaste and Mouthfeel1.  Smell also contributes to the way we perceive a flavor.

Professional tasting experts (AKA Sensory Evaluators) use a “Flavor Wheel” — such as the one below from ACER research — or a “Flavor Map” — such as the one below from University of Vermont — to help describe the different tastes they might identify in a maple syrup sample. Some off flavors are actually quite pleasant, such as vanilla, caramel or candy. Other off flavors can be more off-putting, such as chemical, fermented, or oil.

References and Resources

  1. Final Report Marketing the Taste of Place: The Case of Vermont Maple Syrup”, Dr. Amy Trubek FSMIP, work cited online on 6-4-19.
  2. Flavour Wheel for Maple Products”, Acer Centre, Canada, work cited online on 6-4-19.
  3. Off-flavor syrup reference available. Kit intended for anyone who works with pure maple syrup.”, By Mark L. Isselhardt, Maple Specialist, University of Vermont Extension, Article dated February 2017, work cited online on 6-4-19.
  4. How to Identify Maple Syrup Off Flavors”, By Henry Marckres, The Maple News, April 2019, work cited online on 6-4-19.