J.R. Ewing Finally Gets His Own Real Life Bourbon

By Nino Kilgore-Marchetti / February 19, 2014

Growing up as a child of the 1980s, one show I recall my parents watching with some regularity was the gripping drama Dallas. It eventually went off the air in 1991, returning in 2012 with some of the same characters, plus new ones, to critical acclaim. At the heart of the show was the character J.R. Ewing, played by the now deceased actor Larry Hagman. He ruled the roost of his Texas oil empire, and one of his indulgences was a good glass of bourbon. Now, in an effort to capture that interest into a real product in the market and tie into the debut of the relaunched show’s third season premiere on Monday on TNT, an independent bottler has collaborated with Warner Brothers, among others,  to introduce J.R. Ewing Bourbon.

Southfork Bottling Company, who’s name pays homage to Ewing’s fictional Southfork Ranch (though there is also a real life one which the show has made some use from time to time), turned to independent blender Henrik Facile for help with what’s described as a “high quality bourbon whiskey.” He made use of a four-year old expression from somewhere “in the heart of Kentucky’s bourbon country” that is 80 proof in the bottle and prices for around $35. It should start rolling out at the end of March in the southern and midwestern parts of the country, with national rollout to other markets by June. There’s even plans for an international release by year’s end.

Tasting notes for this bourbon, as provided to me by the PR agency working on this project after I reached out to them, indicate a spirit that “is well balanced with a light amber color and possesses a maturity that adds to its complexity. The nose is classic and slightly fruity, and you will find notes of vanilla, oak sweetness and a touch of orange. The taste profile is surprisingly mild, yet crisp, and exhibits a lightly spicy/honey taste that lingers.”

The same agency also provided me a detailed Q&A related to the bourbon, most of which I repurposed below for your consideration. Is this a whiskey that Ewing’s character would appreciate? I imagine it is something those behind it hope so.

JR Ewing Bourbon

Where was the new J.R. Ewing Bourbon brand born?

The J.R. Ewing Bourbon was an idea ignited through collaboration between The Levenson Group of Dallas, Texas; Warner Bros.; and executive producers of the television series “DALLAS”, which is filmed on location in DFW. The show is about to begin its third season on TNT, with the season three premiere airing Monday, February 24, 2014, at 9/8c. The new bourbon appeared in several episodes of the show during season two.

What is Southfork Bottling Company?

Southfork Bottling Company was formed in 2013 as the official bottler of J.R. Ewing Bourbon and to pay homage to Southfork Ranch, the landmark location and working set for filming of the TNT television series “DALLAS”. The company was founded by Andy Harmon, independent spirits entrepreneur Charles Waldman, and wine spirits marketing company Prairie Creek Beverages, also in Dallas. Glazer’s Distributors of Addison, Texas, has been named the lead distributor for the brand. Visit www.levensongroup.com and www.glazers.com for more information.

Who is the distiller?

The high-quality bourbon whiskey was crafted by Independent Master Blender Henrik Facile, an expert spirits maker who works with major distilleries in Kentucky, the capital of American Bourbon Country.

What is the in-store launch date for J.R. Ewing Bourbon?

The anticipated in-store launch date for J.R. Ewing Bourbon is end of March. The bourbon will be on liquor retailers’ shelves in the South and Midwest regions of the U.S., with national rollout expected throughout the East and West regions by June 2014, and international reach by year’s end. Initial launch markets include: Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, New Orleans, Chicago, Memphis, Kansas City, St. Louis, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Columbus and Little Rock, Atlanta, Denver and Phoenix. www.JREwingbourbon.com

What TV show character is J.R. Ewing Bourbon based on?

J.R. Ewing Bourbon was inspired by the iconic lead character from the “DALLAS” television series. In the original series and seasons one and two of the new TNT series, the J.R. Ewing character was played by Larry Hagman. The character’s bold and brash personality has entertained viewers for many years, and his ruthless and powerful, oil tycoon image is famous. Audiences and fans from the U.S. and abroad have followed the show and its leading man for more than two decades. Visit www.dallastnt.com.

Who designed the bottle and product logo?

The Levenson Group in Dallas developed the packaging and logo for the J.R. Ewing Bourbon fine spirits product. The product is displayed in an elegant, iconic bottle featuring the J.R. Ewing logo and a screen printed image of the legendary Southfork Ranch. A wooden stopper tops off the bottle with a timeless look. High-res images are available upon request.

What is the bourbon’s proof and price point?

J.R. Ewing Bourbon is a four (4) Year Old, 80 Proof bourbon that will retail for $34.95. The premium quality, private reserve Kentucky bourbon is available in 750 ml bottles.

What are the tasting notes for J.R. Ewing Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey?

J.R. Ewing Bourbon was produced, aged and bottled in the heart of Kentucky Bourbon Country. The bourbon is aged four years, is well balanced with a light amber color and possesses a maturity that adds to its complexity. The nose is classic and slightly fruity, and you will find notes of vanilla, oak sweetness and a touch of orange. The taste profile is surprisingly mild, yet crisp, and exhibits a lightly spicy/honey taste that lingers.

How is J.R. Ewing Bourbon best appreciated?

J.R. Ewing Bourbon is best appreciated served neat, on the rocks, or in a mixed cocktail. J.R. himself always preferred “Bourbon and Branch”, a classic mix of high quality bourbon and a dash of water. The makers of J.R. Ewing Bourbon offer signature drink recipes to be served in a rocks glass, especially created for “DALLAS” fans and their friends.