All things being equal, what distinguishes a good tequila from one that's genuinely world-class is pedigree. An established lineage of greatness is worth more than a snazzy package and a stack of spreadsheets. It reflects tradition, heritage and continuity with the past. Few brands better illustrate the impact pedigree has on quality and character than t1 Tequila Uno Blanco Ultra Fino 100% de Agave Azul.
Critically acclaimed t1 Tequila Uno is the creation of master distiller Germán González Gorrochotegui. In the late 1970s, his father, Guillermo Gonzalez Diaz Lombardo, launched what would become the first ultra-premium tequila imported into the United States, Chinaco. Germán worked closely with his father and learned how to handcraft tequila using traditional techniques now considered too expensive and labor intensive.
After years serving as Chinaco's master distiller, Germán left the company and began making tequila at La Tequileña  in Jalisco. The agaves he uses are selected from estates in and around Atotonilco in the Highlands. After harvesting, he cooks the agaves and then allows the extracted juice to ferment naturally for around 72 hours. Like his father before him, he slowly, methodically double-distills the fermented wash—called mosto—in a traditional copper pot still, a laborious process designed to produce the most flavorful distillate possible.
That Germán greatly benefited from being mentored by of his father is perfectly evident in the appropriately named t1 Tequila Uno Blanco Ultra Fino. Bottled at 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof), it has a clear, shimmery appearance, a satiny lightweight body and wafting fruit, spice and floral bouquet. The tequila raises nary a trace of heat as it bathes the palate with an array of dry fruit, herbal and spice flavors. The finish is long and elegant.
Knowing that aficionados are drawn to the unadulterated purity of blanco tequilas, Germán produced a second, equally intriguing unaged expression—t1 Tequila Uno Blanco Ultra Fino 100% de Agave Azul. The tequila is crystal clear with a silky, lightweight body and a glorious bouquet saturated with the aromas of Bartlett pears, lime and lemon zest, dill, red plums and light floral notes. Its aromatics alone qualify it as a bona fide masterpiece. The tequila has a soft, warm and inviting entry that quickly expands filling the mouth with fresh fruit, white pepper, sun-ripened lemons and oranges, anise and semisweet herbal flavors. Its flavorful, long-lasting finish is a sublime pleasure.
Each of these blancos enjoys points of distinction. Ultra Fino, the first expression released in the range, provides the foundation for the portfolio's all-world Tequila Uno Excepcional Reposado and Tequila Uno Estelar Añejo. It's made with a small, narrow cut of the distillation run, which produces a clean, crisp spirit. Likewise, it is bottled at an accessible 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof). The lower alcohol content allows its inherent character to luxuriate on the palate for an agreeably long time.
The skillfully balanced Tequila Uno Selecto has a slightly more pronounced agave flavor and an elevated alcohol content because it is made using a broader cut of the distillation run.
Both t1 Tequila Uno Selecto and Ultra Fino make ideal entrées to the joys of sipping blanco tequila. While tailor-made for today's artisanal cocktails, they should be savored neat before being mixed. You'll be very glad you did. That said, the t1 Tequila Uno Ultra Fino is slightly crisper and the more mixable of the two.