AS the ancestral seat of one of Scotland's oldest and wealthiest families, Culzean Castle had never seen anything as spectacular or tasteless in its 200-year history.

The cliff-top Ayrshire castle, where US president Dwight Eisenhower enjoyed summer holidays as guest of David Kennedy, the 10th earl of Cassillis, last week hosted a £500,000 48th-birthday bash for a flamboyant Ukrainian billionaire who "executed" his wife, bleached his hair red and provided women with mirrors to ensure male guests did not wear underwear beneath their kilts.

Property magnate Gari Korogodsky, who is reputedly Ukraine's 50th wealthiest man, flew 150 friends and family, including a former Ukrainian deputy prime minister, MPs, a Russian rock band and 35 members of the Ukraine National Opera in private jets from Kiev for Monday's extravaganza.

That list didn't include a separate Boeing 737 which brought over props, including a guillotine, used to behead a life-sized dummy of his wife Anna; a hot-air balloon; a throne; and Ukrainian-made kilts for each guest to wear at a dinner prepared by TV chef Nick Nairn.

Korogodsky, who is a leading figure in the Ukrainian Jewish community, decided to make his childhood dream come true after being unable to celebrate his birthday for the past two years, in line with Jewish custom, following the deaths of both his parents.

Revellers looked uneasy after Korogodsky ordered a bizarre trial at which punishments were meted out to guests, culminating in a hooded executioner "beheading" Anna, his wife of 25 years. Korogodsky then presided over a beauty pageant of several blonde "replacements" before his wife re-appeared from behind a curtain to cheers from the relieved party.

Eugene Ivchemko's Kiev-based hospitality firm All Incentive spent almost a year working with Edinburgh tour operator Cashel Travel to achieve Korogodsky's "childhood dream". He said: "Gari wanted to party with all the people he has known since childhood. We chartered a plane full of guests to Prestwick and had people flying in from all over the world."

He added that security was tighter than that of the Scottish parliament, with male guests who failed to respect the no-underwear rule being refused entry: "The women had special mirrors attached to their boots and high heels so they could check up everyone's kilts - including that of Dmitri Tabashnik, the former Ukrainian deputy prime minister."

The organisers claimed the event will encourage others who have profited from Ukraine's new-found wealth to hold similar events in Scotland. Recently, VisitScotland launched a Russian-speaking website.

James Aitken, managing director of Cashel Travel, added: "Scotland is seen as trendy in Russian-speaking countries and we've had a lot of inquiries from people who are prepared to pay top-end for their holidays."