I forgot to mention Ardbeg 10 yr old in my initial list. At around $50 it's not too hard on the wallet and it is a rather good whisky, in my opinion. It's pretty hardcore for a newbie but it's not harsh at all. Of course, opinions vary.
And as was mentioned above, Highland Park 12 yr old....I mean, that's perhaps the entry level whisky that does double duty as an intermediate and one that regular drinkers can enjoy as well.
You know, honestly, I love so many different Scotches that it's hard to differentiate them by levels other than by price. There's very little doubt when you taste a great one and equally little doubt when you get some swill. As a whole, there are more good'uns than trash.