Long time cognac drinker starting to convert to Single Malts. It seems like smooth/not hot/burning single malts can be had for cheaper than comparable cognacs. IMHO anyways.
My recent scotch history
Glenlivet 12 - horrible, three drinks and I was done with the bottle, just too strong like a cheap drunk's drink to me
Glenfiddich 15 - a step up but still strong and not very smooth, I could discern some decent flavors out of it though, bottle was just finished last night
Macallan 18 yr Sherry - the smoothest so far, just a slight tingle of flavors
Balvenie 21 Portwood - has the most flavors so far, sizzles like rock pops on the tongue, a little hot on the sides of the mouth though but well worth it for the all the sensations you get when drinking it
I would like to stay under the $250 price range, cheaper is better but not at the cost of smoothness as I would like to be able to enjoy Scotch and not wince, otherwise I'd drink VSOP Cognac or Crown!
Recommendations for a considerable step up from Glenfiddich 15 would be nice. The next two I'm planning on trying are the Macallan Cask Strength and Balvenie Doublewood.