That is a nice one too. I used to buy it at a duty free when it was US$32 and the exchange rate with the Canadian dollar was favourable. Now that it has gone up in price and the Canadian dollar has gone down, it is no longer a "must buy." Come to think of it even the Coal Ila 12 and the Glenkinchie 12 were $32 so there were a number of must buys.
Don't try Glenfarclas 105 as it's dangerously addictive. You won't go back. On a similar note you can't go too wrong with Aberlour A'bunadh - especially when it's on offer at Waitrose (happens quarterly, they deliver nationally through their website - but they don't deliver to Australia!!!). The background to these and other sherried forms is Olorosso.
A good, less sherried perspective on Speyside is achievable from Glenfiddich 12. Compare it with the 15. Don't let people put you off because it's so commonly available, and you don't need a bottle as you can try it in the pub. Glenlivet 18 is lovely, and compared with some (Macallan is the most guilty) you get more for your money's worth. Slightly more austere is Knockando, but the last bottle I had didn't last long.
My decided Highland favourite is Clynelish 14, from Brora (north of Dornoch). I'd also second GlenDronach - any format, but 18 Allardice is lovely. Glen Elgin is tangerine in a glass.
I drink my whisky in a wine glass, no ice or water. Chuck these in after you've tasted it neat. Stick a beer mat on the top for a few minutes then gather the aromas as they emerge from the glass when you whip it off.
If you want Islay's non-peated stuff then try Bunnahabhain, it's a real delight. It's too cheap for what it is.
I too have never truly warmed to the peat-driven styles Travis. The Laphroaigs and the Lagavulins are definitely not in my karma!!
My recommendations would be some of my personal favourites namely, Springbank, Cragganmore, Linkwood Flora and Fauna, Clynelish, Scapa, Balvenie, Glenlivet but give it a little bottle age. Dalwhinnie is very elegant while An Cnoc is quite unusual yet rather pleasing and perhaps as an accompaniment to dessert. If you like them rich, Glenfarclas 105, a cask strength offering is quite decadent and well-priced on of all places, Amazon!! The litre bt is £40.78 with £5.99 delivery
Lots of interesting scotches being mentioned here and can agree that they all have their place bar the Glenfiddich 12, the least characterful scotch among those listed in the post. Glenfiddich needs at least 15 years to show any sign of character. For those who steer clear of peat, a Laphroaig that might elicit a favourable response is their newly released Select, a blend of six of their whiskies that is so toned down that it has annoyed and disappointed many a Laphroaig lover. It is an elegant, clean scotch most likely made to target non-peat drinkers.
Glenfiddich offered a couple of interesting bottles a couple of years ago but which are more likely to be found at specialist merchants such as the Whisky Exchange now.
They are the 14 year old Rich Oak and 15 year old Solera Reserve. Amazon still stocks the former. When stocks were aplenty they could be found at your larger Tescos and also in 20cl bottles. If buying at supermarkets, do keep an eye out at Tesco which when making way for new stocks every now and then have been known to offer some interesting bottles at good prices.
The Glenlivet Founders Reserve reaped some good reviews recently although I have not been tempted to investigate. Probably because I have mixed feelings with the 12 yr old. That said, stash this away for a few months and the sweetness often shows on the palate.
A distillery that formed a major part of my re-introduction to single malts just over a decade ago was Highland Park. Their 12 yr old was just about the most rounded example one could find. Lovely rich notes of heather, honey, good complexity for a 12 yr old with just the right balance of sweetness. There is a hint of smoky peat on the nose but nothing like the Islay style which to which I tend not to warm. The Lagavulins of this world do little for me and certainly not Laphroig. It was my go-to malt for a long while until around the end of the decade when I felt they had changed the style somewhat. Sadly I have recently discovered that my AB Rh+ blood group would dictate that I should avoid distilled spirits so I haven't investigated Highland Park of late. Pity, since the more recent reviews of their 12 yr old would indicate they are well and truly back on song