As an update - I have tried and/or bought several mezcals, lncluding most mentioned in this thread, so i thought I would revisit it.
I now have bottles of Fidencio clasico and sin humo (no smoke), Sombra, Vida, and Los Danzantes repo (unopened as yet). Have also tasted Semillero (joven and anejo) and pierde almas dobadaan (a little out of this price range at $65-70 but outstanding.)
My favorite so far (other then the Pierde almas) is Sombra, it is robust with a lot of smoke on the attack but a nicely integrated agave / fruity taste that emerges and plays well with the smoke.
The Vida is also very nice, less smokey but with a tangy fruity taste and quite smooth.
I only tried mini bottles of the Semilleros, and it has been a few months but I remember enjoying them quite a bit.
Not as much a fan of the Fidencios, I found the smoke in the clasico a little harsher and the agave taste just doesn't seem to mesh as well with it as in the Sombra. The Sin Humo tastes a little like a flavorful lowlands tequila with some earthy mineral flavors, not bad but not nearly as good as the Vida IMHO.
Saving the Los Danzantes Repo until I have a little more experience with my other mezcals, I have heard amazing things about it and want to truly appreciate it when I finally open it. Got a great deal too, a friend brought it back from out of town for $40, I see it online in the $60+ range.
Decided to bump this up and hijack it a bit - if anyone has recommendations for Mezcals from the following list in the ~$40 or less range, I would welcome their opinions. Mpre interested in Jovens right now to really get a taste for Mexcal without the effects of aging.
The frontrunners at this point are the Metl silver, DM Vida - though the Semillero sounds interesting, but I haven't been able to find any reviews of them, they seem to be new,
Also another site has Fidencio for $34.
Del Maguey understands your complaints, so they just released Mezcal Vida about a month or two ago. If you can find it, it sells for $38-40/750 mL. I have tried it straight and in drinks, and it is good, but it is not as good as their $80-120/bottle offerings straight, but almost as good in drinks.
Also of note is that Illegal Mezcal has started appearing on the market. Our local Chartreuse rep has been showcasing it prior to it appearing here in Boston. I believe their joven weighs in around $50.
Illegal Mezcal is amazing! Not just straight, but for some amazingly complex cocktails. Greg Seider, owner of Summit Bar in the east Village in NYC made me a cocktail with it last week that blew me away. It was used as a minor ingredient, but was unmistakable in its influence. It may be the best mezcal I ever had.