I'm strange in that the first scotch I really enjoyed was Laphroaig (although it was the first single malt I had tried as well). For me, the peat/smoke was what I loved about it, because it was entirely different from my bourbon or rye. I actually have struggled the other way. The next dozen single malts I tried didn't really strike a chord because they felt like a shadow of that first experience. I would echo the recommendation of Highland Park 12 as a good place to start at a fair price.