Scottish estate sold for £11m to American socialite couple

An American socialite couple have bought a Scottish estate for £11 million in one of the country’s biggest property deals of recent times.

Kildrummy Estate near Alford has been sold for £11m to an American socialite couple, Christopher and Camille Bently. PIC: Savills

Christopher and Camille Bently, from San Franciso, are the new owners of the Kildrummy Estate near Alford, Aberdeenshire.

The couple is at the helm of the Bently Foundation that supports environmental, arts and animal welfare projects around the world, with a particular focus on sustainable living practices and the protection of endangered species.

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Christopher Bently, the new co-owner of Kildrummy Estate in Aberdeenshire, is on the board of the Burning Man festival in Nevada and is a long-term supporter of arts, environmental and animal welfare projects around the world.

Mr Bently, who inherited the fortune of his industrialist father eight years ago, is a past advisory board member for the Burning Man festival, which every year draw tens of thousands of people gather to Nevada's Black Rock Desert to create the temporary metropolis of Black Rock City.

Deep in Aberdeenshire, the Bentlys now own 5,600 acres, including a Edwardian mansion house, a number of farms, forestry plantations, a wind farm and The Kildrummy Inn.

A spokesman for Mr and Mrs Bently said: “The Bentlys’ plan to operate Kildrummy will be in the same environmentally conscious standard that they do [with]their other properties.

“They plan to make a full statement after they have a chance to get their arms around the estate and when operations begin this Fall.”

Mr Bently, who has Scottish ancestry, and his wife got married at Castle Stuart on Bute in 2015.

The couple produces their own whisky, the Bently Heritage range, using grains grown on their Nevada ranch.

According to the distillery’s website, Mr Bently, travelled to Scotland twice as a young man to explore his Scottish heritage.

“Instantly he felt at home, connected, and gained a passion for the land and culture. He says, ‘It’s something in the terroir and history that makes Scotland so special,” the statement said.

It added: “His return to Scotland many years later with Camille not only rekindled his love for the land, but also for single malt whisky. It was there, while studying the distilleries of old, that they decided to open a distillery in America and put American single malt whisky on the world map. It was essential for Christopher to express the terroir of whisky in an American spirit that fulfills such an expression to the fullest.”

Evelyn Channing, head of rural agency for Savills in Scotland, said the sale of Kildrummy illustrated that the Scottish land market was still moving, despite “these challenging times”.

She added: “During lockdown we have agreed and completed on a number of estate sales totalling over £30 million demonstrating the strength and depth of the Scottish estate market.

"There was a notable increase in the number of new buyer registrations following the General Election in December, with a particular focus for income producing and natural capital assets. Throughout lockdown we have received a continual flow of enquiries for Scottish rural property from across the world as the many and varied merits of owning an estate in Scotland have been brought to the fore.”

“Kildrummy attracted a diverse range of potential buyers, including those who were attracted to the established and potential income flow from its mixed portfolio of assets which, in addition to residential and commercial rents, also include renewable and forestry assets which are earmarked as being contributors to carbon zero targets.”

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