I'll give you an odd recommendation, inexpensive as well
, Johnny Walker Swing
. You may have to special order it, but you should give it a try.
It sounds like, from your description above, that you would probably prefer the smooth balanced flavor of a blend. It's been a classic for nearly 80 years, and I've kept a bottle in the cabinet since my college days (a long time). It's a good blend for someone new to whisky, a little sweet from some sherry casks, a little smoke from some Islay, very smooth, no harsh alcohol burn. If it was good enough for the first class bar on the trans atlantic cruise ships, it's good enough for me.
You might like the Balvenie 15 yr single barrel. It has the classic Balvenie profile without the extra fruitiness seen in the double wood. No smoke though. I'm surprised you didn't like the HP 12, maybe it was just too sweet.