I advise you hang onto that Laphroaig; you may develop a taste for it later on. As an entry to smoky malts I recommend trying Talisker 10. It was the "gateway malt" for me, and allowed me to enjoy the likes of Lagavulin, which disgusted me at first. I'm sure you can find a bar which serves Talisker, or look for a mini bottle.
I recommend Aberlour 10, Strathisla 12, Highland Park 12 as malts that are more challenging than Glenfiddich 12. Actually Glenkinchie 12 is one of my favourites so I'll recommend that too.