I tapped some maples this year, but not until late March as the weather didn't cooperate. The trees weren't budding yet, but as I boiled down the syrup (in a turkey fryer), it started to smell. I didn't know what "buddy" meant until I smelled that smell. And as I gave up, I saw that the local maple syrup "farm" was quitting for the season.
I used plastic icing containers to collect sap. I washed them many times and soaked overnight, but they still had a faint fake icing smell. Could that have been the problem, or was it just too late? Also, I didn't cover the buckets, but I did collect daily. I was unemployed so it was a great project. If only I hadn't cheapskated out on those buckets. I spent many hours cleaning nasty fake icing. I can't believe we let kids eat that stuff. :-P