That really surprises me about ******* spirits in North Carolina. I am very fortunate to have a wife who accepts my whisky habit. Haha.
Bourbon is a great whiskey that, compared to scotch, is less expensive. My favorites are Woodford Reserve and Makers Mark. Both should be around $30 each for 750 mL size and great for sipping. You can get cheaper, but they typically fall into the quality suitable for mixing. To contrast, you can also spend much more on bourbon, but I think the two I named are great representations for a good price.
Glenmorangie 10 was the first single malt I had and loved it for the price. Worth looking into for sure. I just bought a bottle of JW Black. I'm quite a fan of it and based on what you've said, I think you'll like it too.
I hate that your whiskey prices are so expensive but your country does have one thing I cherish that isn't available in the US: Cuban Cigars.