A few months ago I made another attempt at some candy syrup. This time I used an amino acid (l-lysine) from the pharmacy to try to encourage more melanoid formation over caramelization. It was a strange process for sure. It spit out a lot of ammonia fumes, which others have mentioned occurring in similar experiments. Then it got a decidedly meaty flavor. Like a steak. Yep, that's right. I made sugar water taste like a steak (but not a great steak). I figured it was just a passing phase and kept going. Some of the meaty flavor went away but a hint remained. It had some good toffee and rummy flavor but none of the dark fruit flavors I was shooting for.
I tossed it into a dubbel with some special b, aromatic and caramunich. What came out the other side of fermentation is very interesting. The toffee comes through with a bit of coffee and chocolate and some raisiny flavor. There's also a distinct meat flavor in there. There's many layers of flavor but a few -- especially the meat -- flavors I could really do without.
I think that's it for me trying to duplicate candy syrup. I'm definitely of the mindset that one needs to start with a less refined product and go from there. I don't think bleached beet sugar (or corn sugar) is going to cut it. I learned a lot along the way but it's not like that D2 syrup is so expensive it's worth my time making weird shit in pursuit of something close.