x2 for Laphroaig. It should fit in your price range. But you may want to sample it first, it's kinda love or hate it. It's very peaty and iodine-y. It's my favourite scotch in the up to $150 dollar range. Lagavulin is a close second, but may be more than what you want to pay depending on where you are. enjoy.
Holy sweet mother Mary of Jesus! This bourbon actually scared me when I drank it. The thing is like a small tactical nuke in your mouth. Imagine every bourbon flavor you've ever tasted--then cubed--along with a small hit of LSD and you can sort of imagine what's going on in your mouth. This thing is most definitely NOT for the cowardly; only professionals here.
damn man, try again...anything younger than the original 18 year (including the 18 year fine oak) is mediocre.
before jumping into the scotch world, know that scotch is not meant to be smooth (easily); it's meant to be unique, complex and intricate. irish whiskey and bourbon tend to be smoother and more accessible, cheaply.
i'd say given 50ish bucks, look for:
glenmorangie 10 year - some of the finishes (i.e. portwood, sherry wood, etc) are quite nice and interesting; a little sweeter and an easily accessible scotch
oban 14 year - generally a little pricier, but very subtle and easy to drink
glenrothes - they have a cheaper bottling that's not bad, but if you can find a 1991 or 1987 release is fantastic (usually about 75 or 80 though)
laphroig 10 or 15 year - both are awesome, but not for the timid. a lot of peat, earth with some serious smoke. on the plus side, not too expensive
lagavulin 16 year - the standard for islay malts; warm, smokey, with lots of iodine and earth! one of my favorites, but generally north of 70 bucks. if you're feeling frivolous, look for a distiller's edition from 1990 to 1991; one of the best whiskeys i've ever had.
highland park 12, 15 and 18 years - all good, getting smoother and less aggressive with age. i think the 18 can be had for 70 to 75...very worth it.
ardbeg 10 year - very nice, smokey and peaty again. not too pricey either! a little sweeter than the other islays...