Welcome to the forums!
I don't have precisely what you're looking for, but I hope my story of how I came to enjoy Scotch whisky helps you. Up until a couple of years ago, I didn't really enjoy whisk(e)y of any variety neat all that much. I always drank it on the rocks. Looking back, I think drinking it neat brought back too many bad memories of college-era downing of shots. 99% of my experience (up until 2012 or so) with brown liquors came from bourbon. A girlfriend with Scottish family had brought back an Aberlour 12 year for me from the motherland in college, but I hadn't cared too much for it. Ten yeas later, I'm at the liquor store and I saw Johnnie Walker Black on sale for $24 or so. I figured I'd try it. I did, and even on the rocks there was a lot going on that I liked. So I proceeded to try Green and Gold, enjoyed them both. Found Cardhu on sale, tried it and liked it. Then, one magical day, a friend bought a bottle of Lagavulin 16 and poured me a glass. There was something very different about this, and I did not like it at first. Never did figure out what it was, because by the time I got around to buying my own bottle, I absolutely loved it. For the purposes of this conversation, let us assume it was peat.
Over time, I kept trying various single malts and blends, and I got my bearings in the scotch world. I tried a wide variety of things, and kept coming back to Islay malts. Please bear in mind that I was still putting my whisky on the rocks. One thing that peated Islay malts have over others is that even when they are cold and diluted by way too much ice is FLAVOR. Even under the suppression that ice can cause, I started to identify an earthy, smoky, briny, medicinal flavor accompanied by an oily, lip smacking texture. Over time, I learned this was peat. As I assume many do, I eventually curbed and then totally cut out ice in my scotch (though I still use plenty of water when I think it needs it), but the earthy, smoky, oily, and briny allure of Islay malts remained my absolute favorite. This could be all or at least in part because peat was the first characteristic of scotch that I truly came to recognize and understand, and the feeling of success we all get when we figure something out might have created a tendency to think fondly of the stuff. I also don't always enjoy overly sweet malts (give me a meaty Mortlach over Macallan any day), and Islay malts have a lot going for them besides sweetness. I should also point out that I love food and drink that provokes a visceral reaction. Whether it's the heat from a spicy dish, smoke from BBQ, or the tongue-curdling bitterness of hops, I love it all. Peat seems to scratch that same itch for me.
Or it's all in my head.