Thanks thats very helpful! Makes sense, since the big Islays can overwhelm anything else. Get a good buzz going with a drink of something else, then build into it.
I find that the base Laphroaig 10 is great for this. Reasonably cheap, definately a true Islay experience, but a bit course so there's nothing subtle to miss by not yet being inured to the alcohol and the smoke.
I have found that I really enjoy both the Uigeadail and the Supernova when I work my way into them.
Am I correct that you favorably compare Lagavulin 12 to Uigeadail?