Quick note: I am almost 100% sure that the product initially reviewed, the Único, has been simply renamed "Sin Humo," and considering the character and branding of one to the other, I doubt the core formulation has changed significantly. All thoughts here should still apply.
You could think of the Fidencio Único as a "light" mezcal. That might seem like an oxymoron in a class of spirit that's often categorized as tasting like "burning tires" or "a mouthful of volcanic earth," but I think it works. I mean, we don't need our ass kicked every day.
That might not be a selling point if you think that a light version of anything sounds instantly anemic by comparison. Incidentally, I remember Anthony Bourdain saying something once about putting a chicken dish on every menu precisely for people who don't know what they want to order for dinner. Thankfully, the Unico is no rotisserie chicken dish, and I think it justifies itself as a purchase even when flanked by heavier, more dominating bottles on the store shelf.
In fact, what I think I appreciate most about the Unico is a lot of what I appreciate about unpeated scotches: smoke can be a great flavor, but I feel it really gets in the way of spirits too delicate to stand up to it. More to the point, I like smoke as a secondary flavor, but not as the star of the show. Again, I'm pretty certain Fidencio simply rebranded the Unico when they released the "Sin Humo," which literally means no smoke in Spanish, so you pretty much know their mission statement from the word go.
And you know what? I think I actually appreciate these varieties of Mezcal most, because they're great brand ambassadors for a spirit category that's a lot broader and more sophisticated than I think people realize. In the case of the Unico, there's an awful lot going on, but I love it because it all feels focused and cohesive. Things start off strong with the aroma and initial tastes. It smells like a blanco tequila because there's a lot of fresh agave and chopped veggies. However, the initial flavors are incredibly bold with ample flavors of peach, strawberry, and spun honey.
It's at that point the Unico decides it's going to remind you that it is, after all, a mezcal, and the brooding nature of the spirit takes hold. It takes a hard left into the territory of earth, leather, and cooked root vegetables like carrots and yams. It sounds a bit strange, and maybe it will be to the first timer (yum: a mouthful of earth!), but there's something very playful and satisfying about the whole gamut of experiences on offer. I also think if smoke was a component in all of this, I wouldn't be able to detect the level of sophistication going on here.
The finish is also appropriately long. The earthiness lingers, but you feel most of the lingering spice on the front of the tongue rather than at the back of your throat like cheap mixto tequila. All-in-all, there's a lot of satisfying, grown-up tastes, and the price point certainly doesn't feel like highway robbery to me.
I mentioned a while back that if you were willing to jump into the deep end, the El Silencio Espadín would be a good first point of contact with mezcal. I stand by that, but I think I like the Unico a little better, and I'd say this would be a far gentler and inviting way to cross the border into mezcal town—especially if you know you're a person who likes what they like and has a hard time with compromise.
Again, all due credit to any clear spirit that doesn't screw around in the flavor department. This is delicate and subtle, but it definitely isn't boring. I enjoyed my bottle from start to finish and would purchase another. There's a lot to be said for a mezcal that's easy to pour and enjoy.