Originally Posted by romafan
I'm the farthest thing from a Scotch expert, but single malts (which several people here are recommending) are generally thought to be a little more 'inaccessible' for neophytes - an acquired taste, if you will. If you find the single malts unpalettable it might be best to start w/ a blended whisky. Dewars, Johnny Walker Red (or Black), Chivas, J&B, etc. For price performance, I know folks who have nothing but good things to say about Cutty Sark & Crown Royale, but I've never tasted them...
Enhhhh....no, I don't think so. While it is true that the blends (that is, blends of grain and malt whiskys) were developed to dilute strong malts for consumption in the lower part of the UK, the majority of blends are not as accessible as many malts. For instance, JW Black (as Kent mentioned) has a high proportion of peaty Islay and stronger Speysides, and is much heavier in character than, say, Dalwhinnie -- a Highland single malt cited above. Basically, blends have a range as do malts.
Chivas and Cuttys (my well scotch) are lighter, the Walkers not so much. I can't stand Dewars for whatever reason.
Qualities of good scotch, are naturally, complex nose, which carries to the mouth, flavour components of smoked (debated and style dependent), caramelly notes, esters (ripe fruits and such), vanillin, sweet solventy stuff, winey qualities (depending on the finish), the finish of the scotch itself, the weight of the mouthfeel, and on and on.
Since you're a G&T guy, try a blended scotch and soda. I take it neat (rarely), with a dash of water (typically no more than 10% by vo.l), with a singel ice cube, and blends on the rocks or with water. Rusty Nails are my after-dinner drink.
BTW, if you try the malts above and don't like them, well, they are a great survey of the cream, so...