Dirty Helen Tribute Bourbon Set to Fetch $30,000 at Auction
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Unicorn Bourbon Named After Foul-Mouthed ‘Dirty Helen’ Set to Fetch Hefty Price at Auction

Dirty Helen

The bottle of D.H. Cromwell 15 Year Old Bourbon is slated to auction for as much as $30,000 (Photo: Whisky Auctioneer)

A rare bottle of D.H. Cromwell 15 Year Old Bourbon, crafted as an homage to the legendary figure “Dirty Helen” is set to fetch nearly $30,000 through an online auction running from May 26 through June 5 via Whiskey Auctioneer. Only 72 bottles were made.

The D.H. Cromwell 15 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon was made at the Stitzel-Weller distillery and pays tribute to the legendary bar owner and former call girl Helen Cromwell, who was better known as “Dirty Helen” according to an article in the Shepherd Express.

The bourbon was produced in a rare collaboration between Julian Van Winkle III’s Old Commonwealth company and Gordon Jackson of Louisville’s Old Town Liquors.

More About Dirty Helen Cromwell

Cromwell only served bourbon or scotch at her bar. It’s said that if visitors asked for any mixed drinks, they would find themselves on the receiving end of a colorful, profanity-filled tirade.

Dirty Helen earned her nickname because of her propensity to use expletive-laced language and her checkered past. She ran a speakeasy-turned-legal bar called The Sunflower Inn for over 30 years, which was a local hangout for politicians, athletes, mobsters and celebrities, according to Whisky Magazine.

In her memoir, Helen carried on with colorful figures including Al Capone, Johnny Torrio and Big Jim Colosimo.

The fast-talking, foul-mouthed bar owner served Old Fitzgerald at her bar and had a longstanding business relationship with Julian Van Winkle II, the son of the legendary Pappy Van Winkle. Helen met Julian Van Winkle after he discovered she was serving Old Forester at her tavern.

After Julian Van Winkle II convinced Helen to switch to Old Fitzgerald products, he made her his guest of honor at a Stitzel-Weller sales meeting while wining and dining her throughout Louisville.

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Cynthia Mersten is a writer/editor for Whiskey Raiders and has worked in the Beverage Industry for eight years. She started her career in wine and spirits distribution and sold brands like Four Roses, High West and Compass Box to a variety of bars and restaurants in the city she calls home: Los Angeles. Cynthia is a lover of all things related to wine, spirits and story and holds a BA from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television. Besides writing, her favorite pastimes are photography and watching movies with her husband.