Also relatively new
I'm far from an expert, only been serious about whisky for a little over a year but I just wanted to throw one scotch out there that I think is perfect for a newbie. Highland Park 12. Not expnsive at all (goes for around $50 in the Chicago area). It has a just a hint of smoke, a little sweetness and is very drinkable. It's my go-to scotch and everyone I've offered it to becomes a fan. Best of luck on your journey!