Talisker is a peaty scotch, even though it's from Skye instead of Islay, but it is less argumentative than Laphroaig. I adored the Laphroaig 15 I bought in Scotland many years ago. I guess they've moved to 18 instead of 15 now because Beam thinks that's a better scotch age.
Talisker 10 is what I drink when I drink Scotch, but I suspect that's in large part because I've been there (although I've also been to Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie and a few others, so it's only part of the reason).
"I wish to see this beverage become common instead of the whiskey which kills one-third of our citizens and ruins their families."
"Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health."
"Wine from long habit has become an indispensable for my health."
Compare to Lincoln: "You just find out, to oblige me, what brand of whiskey Grant drinks, because I want to send a barrel of it to each one of my generals."
which raises the interesting question of why Jefferson's Reserve features a likeness of the third president and architect of Monticello on their bottles...Knob Creek would appear to have the more authentic marketing angle.
Balvenie Doublewood was one of my first steps-up from 'Fiddich and Glenlivet, and I still enjoy it immensely. Talisker 10 is another fine choice, as is Highland Park 12.
I'll echo the advice that you hold onto the Lap. I was in almost the exact same position as you: Lap Quarter Cask was one of my first scotch pours, and I almost swore the stuff off for good. Now, I really enjoy the peated scotches and hope you will too someday.
"I distrust a man who says 'when.' He's got to be careful not to drink too much, because he's not to be trusted when he does." Sydney Greenstreet
It was some time later that I could stomach Bourbon (oh the horror that it was so). I always kept a bottle of WT101 around for "mixing" and we'd try it straight from time to time and found it... repulsive!... Right up until we didn't! One day it was suddenly really, really good!
So, in my case Peat was the gateway to the world of whisk(e)y, and the love of Rye came next, and shortly after Bourbon.
Thanks for letting me share - and don't think less of me because I love Scotch. I'm trying to drink more bourbon now that I'm in Texas.
Great to have a cabinet stocked with various profiles of flavor in order to compare, share and satisfy any mood.
Lots of folks mention Talisker 10 (I've killed quite a few bottles of that, I especially love Distillers Edition and the 18), and if you get a kick out of the spicy rye quality of Bourbon, then I could see it being a hit - but if you are into wheaters, I'm afraid the pepper/spice would be more off-putting than the smoke!
Black & white pepper are big parts of the Talisker profile. It's also fairly dry and not terribly sweet. Great stuff, to be sure, but I'd look at a Caol Ila or a peated Highlander for the bourbon-rich smoothness. A sherried & peated Scotch could be a hit, too (this style is my fave of any type of whisk(e)y - sweet & smokey, with a rich full body and not too dry)
Based on world wide scotch sales (90% blended, 10% single malts, according to an article just read) it would seem that most of the world starts with scotch before trying bourbon (if they try it at all).
I will definitely keep an open mind to the Islay malts but I'd like to explore more blends, Speysides and Highlands before coming back to the Islays. And there's so much bourbon, rye, Irish and Japanese malt I have yet to try! Thanks again for all the great advice from everyone.