When I first came to Scotland I didn't like whisky. All I had experienced was Bells whisky and I thought, at that time, whisky was whisky.
Well, that changed, You can't live here very long before being offered whisky and I was offered The Famous Grouse (no, I'd never heard of him either). It was pretty good. They have since changed the blend and it's not to my liking any more, but it did set me on the road to whisky appreciation.
Whisky is a personal preference. Personally I don't like Bells but it's a popular one, so plenty of people obviously do. I like the heavily peated whiskies like Ardbeg or Bunnahabhain or Laphroaig, but one of the Smoky-Drinkers can't stand them. He prefers Speyside. A near-neighbour lives for the Macallan which is nice, but never my first choice.
I've recently experienced the Penderyn, a Welsh malt. I remember Welsh whisky from my young days, early attempts labelled 'chwysgi' and they were dreadful. Penderyn is very smooth indeed. They have a peated version - must get some.
Once you move into the malts, the blends seem harsh, almost like drinking acid in some cases. They are, however, much cheaper. For me, good ones are Stewart's Cream of the Barley, Whyte and Mackay's Glasgow Special, Black Bottle and JB's, among others. Those are guzzling whiskies for a Smoky-Drinky excess night but they don't hurt too hard in the morning and they don't make your arse feel like you've been practised on by Dyno-Rod trainees in your sleep.
Any discussion of whisky is subjective. The range of tastes is amazing, it is not one generic 'whisky' taste. Some burn, some don't burn at all. Glen Grant is dangerously easy to drink while Black Grouse is self-limiting because of the pain in your oesophagus. You know where that pain will be tomorrow. I prefer the non-pain ones myself.
I could write a book in several volumes on the subject and almost nobody would agree with all of it because it's all a matter of what you like. Once in a while, I'll put up ones I find and like or hate.
There used to be miniatures. If you saw a whisky you hadn't heard of, you could buy a one-shot bottle to try it before you splashed out the price of a small television on a bottle of something that ended up tasting like drain cleaner. Miniatures are scarce now. The best way to try a new one is in a pub - quick, before they all die - but don't try too many at one sitting or you will develop a taste for Toilet Duck. Which is, admittedly, cheaper but it gives you the hairy hands.
So, my recommendations will be based on what I like. I have no idea what you will like. Don't fork out thirty quid on a bottle until you've tested it. I'll talk about malts, grains and blends and try to remember to explain what that means but if I forget, pull me up on it.
In the meantime, if you know where to buy a bottle of Glenfarclas 105, let me know. I've only ever seen that one in pubs. Oh, it's very, very nice but not one I'd recommend starting with. It is not a learner-drinker's tipple.
And yes, it all definitely tastes better in a crystal glass. If you swig it from the bottle in my house, you're going under the patio.