Just a short drive from Balmoral and covering 5,500 acres of Aberdeenshire land, Kildrummy could be regarded as the very essence of a typical Scottish estate.

Steeped in tradition and with a B-listed Edwardian mansion at its heart, its rolling landscape offers ample space for farming and forestry, with a 200-year-old coaching inn and plenty of hunting and fishing.

However, Kildrummy Estate now seems set to be propelled into the 21st century by new art-loving and environmentally-conscious owners with links to one of America’s most eccentric and bohemian of festivals.

And, perhaps at odds with Kildrummy Estate’s reputation for year-round country sports, with salmon and trout fishing on the River Don, grouse shooting and deer stalking on the higher ground and roe deer stalking on the woodland fringe, the new multi-millionaire San Francisco-based owners have strident views on animal protection and conservation.

Their arrival at the estate is expected to raise hopes for its future safekeeping after years in the hands of a mysterious company based in the tax haven of Jersey.

Five years ago, a gamekeeper at Kildrummy estate became the first gamekeeper in the UK to be jailed for wildlife crimes against raptors after being secretly filmed catching birds in two traps.

He was sentenced to four months, after the film showed him killing a goshawk by removing it from a trap and hitting it with a stick and putting a buzzard and another goshawk into sacks.

However, despite what police called “significant international investigations” to pursue vicarious liability charges against the then estate owners they were said to have been thwarted by the maze of offshore ownership leading to various companies including RBS’s private bank, Coutts Trustees Ltd.

Now the estate, which stretches from the River Don in the south to the top of the Hill of Snowy Slack, has been sold by Kildrummy (Jersey) Ltd for £11 million to Christopher and Camille Bently, well known in San Francisco’s social circles for their links to the Nevada desert Burning Man festival and arts philanthropy.

The couple, who married at Castle Stuart on Bute in 2015 with members of the wedding party dressed in “Bently tartan”, are also said to be fans of “high Scottish Gothic style” with an eclectic fashion sense and appreciation for historic properties.

Their philanthropic Bently Foundation sets out core values of supporting the arts, preserving animal habitats and natural resources, and protecting wild animals.

While their Bently Heritage distillery aims to put “American single malt on the world map” it has adopted traditional Scotch whisky methods using grains grown on their Nevada ranch, which are malted in-house on their own malting floor.

Mr Bently is the son of the late Donald Bently, an American entrepreneur, inventor and engineer who was recognised globally as an authority on rotor dynamics.

He earned his fortune after establishing and then selling a highly successful business specialising in rotordynamics and operated a string of other privately-owned businesses which served a range of sectors including oil and gas.

He also had strong conservation interests with businesses that explored environmentally sustainable agricultural practices and innovative uses of renewable resources. He died eight years ago, leaving his fortune to his only son, Christopher.

According to Bently Heritage’s website, Mr Bently, travelled to Scotland twice as a young man to explore his Scottish heritage and instantly “felt at home”.

“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’”

It adds that Mr and Mrs Bently took inspiration from a tour of Scottish distilleries to launch their own whisky distillery in a renovated mill.

“As an avid environmentalist, Christopher Bently insists on nothing less than exemplary green operating practices,” it adds.

He is also a former director of the Burning Man festival, an arts and music event held annually at the Black Rock Desert of northwest Nevada, which features the symbolic burning of a giant figure.

Mrs Bently, meanwhile, is said to take pride in the estate’s “environmentally-responsible agricultural practices, growing non-GMO and heritage grains”.

Kildrummy Estate includes the B-Listed property originally built in 1901 as a private residence and accommodation for large shooting parties. More recently it was used as Kildrummy Castle Hotel.

There is also a modern architect-designed property, 12 estate houses and cottages, and more than 2000 acres of farmland.

According to estate agents, Savills, the all year-round availability of hunting and shooting “makes Kildrummy more appealing than other estates in Scotland.” The estate also has almost 1,300 acres of forestry, a leased wind farm and includes the Kildrummy Inn.

A spokesman for Mr and Mrs Bently’s distillery business 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 [autumn].”