THE UK’s oldest whisky distillery is at the heart of an oriental mystery after construction workers in China uncovered a giant piece of rock engraved with the word Glenturret.

The rock emblazoned with the name of the famous distillery in Crieff, Perthshire, came to light in excavations at Moganshan, two hours from Shanghai.

The developers know some of the property used to belong to Dr Duncan Main, a Scottish missionary doctor who worked for 45 years in China in the late 19th and early 20th Century. What they are puzzled about is the connection to Glenturret.

Staff at Glenturret Distillery are baffled too and want the public to help them solve the puzzle.

Grant Horsfield, founder of resort developer Naked, said Main had a castle on the property used as a summer retreat, built in 1910.

It later became a hotel but was knocked down in the 1960s.

Horsfield recently got in touch with Glenturret Distillery, home of The Famous Grouse and The Glenturret Single Malt, after the name was found on a piece of rock.

With the help of researchers on both sides of the world, including the local history officer at the AK Bell Library in Perth, the two parties have filled in a few blanks. But they are hoping the public can solve the mystery for good.

Stuart Cassells, general manager of Glenturret Distillery, said: “At first it might not seem like a surprise that a Scottish missionary doctor would be linked to a Scottish whisky distillery. But the fact is Dr Main was born and brought up in Ayrshire and was educated in Glasgow and Edinburgh. We have yet to find a link between Dr Main and Crieff.

“We’re wondering if perhaps Dr Main was such a fan of his native drink that he was one of the first importers of Glenturret whisky to China?

“Another possibility is that the rock has uncovered a link not to Glenturret Distillery but to a British steamship called Glenturret that we also know existed.”

Glenturret Distillery is asking anybody with information on Main, particularly regarding his time in China, or the mysterious rock, to get in touch with the distillery at