Originally Posted by MRH21
Not too long ago, a friend of mine let me try some Glenlivet 12 after finding out that I'd never tried Scotch (I've been 21 for just 2 months). I immediately fell in love; It was delicious. I ended up buying myself a bottle and now a week later I'm nearly out (don't judge me)! I really like Glenlivet 12, but as I'm new to Scotch, I'd like to try other brands. Please recommend me some great Single Malts between $40-$60. I can't yet justify nor afford to spend much more than that.
Welcome to Whisky - it's a magical pursuit. As you're just now 21 (lucky you), you have a great opportunity in front of you.
Most people - drinkers - pigeonhole themselves into drinking the mass produced products they know through the bombarding of advertising - it's all they know, hence, all they have confidence in. Most of these products, however, are of poor quality or, at best, very average. People who try different things all the time are rare, and it takes them years to develop into true connoisseurs.
A lot of people in this forum are on this path - though if you look at the number of posts about the major brands (Macallan, Balvenie, Glenlivet, Glenmorangie, Glenfiddich...), you will see most people aren't far down the path. In fact there are 6 pages of posts about Macallan, 4 pages each on Balvenie and Glenlivet, 3 pages each on Glenmorangie and Glenfiddich but less than a page on quality distillers like Mortlach, Glenturret, Old Pulteney, Edradour...
One reason for this is that most people only buy-drink-post about what they find in their local merchant and most merchants' Scotch sections suck. In Manhattan, for example, there are only 5-6 stores I'd shop in and only 3 of those have anything really interesting - and this out of over 300 stores! It gets worse if you live in NJ like me - even worse if you live more than 25 miles from a major metropolitan area.
My point is, simply by finding this forum, you are probably more of an adventurer than many drinkers and, as you're youthful in the world of drinking, you are poised to drink better throughout your life than most people ever consider. If you're interested, buy a copy of Dave Broom's 'World Atlas of Whisky' and Michael Jackson's "Whiskey: The Definitive World Guide." These are both basic introductions to whisky but comprehensive in approach and must reads. I'm also a HUGE promoter for Philip Hills' 'Appreciating Whisky' (probably the best wine & spirits book I've ever read). You'll then come across writers like Charles Maclean and Jim Murray and will read some of their work in good time. Thus, you'll arm your developing drinking interest with some very good information, and you'll learn general styles of the different producing regions... which will guide your drinking exploration.
You'll read a lot of posts here about gradually making your way into trying heavily peated whiskies - as many people either love them or hate them. That said, I will suggest trying things like Benromach 10 yr, Highland Park 12 and Springbank 10 100 proof to get an understanding of peat without being overwhelmed as you might be with whisky from Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Talisker.
As you have just had Glenlivet, you do need to try Macallan 12, Glenmorangie 10, Balvenie 12 Doublewood, and Glenfiddich 12... However, I recommend doing so in a bar. You don't have to spend for a full bottle and you can buy other more interesting whiskies for drinking at home. Along the style of some of these general selections, seek out Mortlach, Benrinnes, Glenfarclas and Glen Grant. A quite light Speyside whisky that is quite pleasing for newcomers is Strathisla - a major component in the Chivas blends. Very affordable and similar in style to Macallan 12 is Tamdhu 10 (Macallan 12 runs $45-55 where Tamdhu 10 is $20-25).
Sorry for the diatribe, I just hope you might be guided to drinking better than drinking ordinary and thinking it's better.