Very insightful perspective. I think there are two types of beginners. Those who are truly motivated and excited about Scotch whisky (such as yourself) should definitely try the more extreme styles early on to help map out the territory. They're not likely to let a bad apple or two kill the enthusiasm.
But there are a fair number who approach the new experience from a more reserved (dare I say, timid) stance. These might try a monster (be it peat, sherry, or malt) and decide Scotch just isn't for them. Spending $50 on a bottle to discover it's not to your liking is a strong disincentive to carry on for some. And so, most often, we're inclined to suggest that beginners work their way up a gentler slope. By the time they try one of the monsters they're hooked and we never let them go
I think Highland Park is often suggested as a good place to start. That would be my personal recommendation for most, no matter which type of beginner they are. Depending on the results of that first tasting, you can usually get a good sense of where to go next. In your case, it was all the way to the wall. For others, it might be something more subtle.