(Quick PSA: I am on the road today and heading to a place with very limited internet access. I'll be slow to answer comments or questions all weekend long, but I'll do my best.)
Fall is not my favorite season, but even I will admit that it's probably the best time of year for perfume. You can wear just about anything, and for many of us, it's a joy to finally pull out some of the heavier woods and orientals that we've been neglecting all summer. I've already done autumn posts covering iris, incense and vetiver, now I'm turning to vanilla (and Angela will join in the fun on Monday, with 5 fruity chypres for fall). As always, these are just my suggestions, and again as always, the line between the seasons is perhaps a bit arbitrary and/or personal: some of these fragrances wear just as well in summer or winter, and some of them work perfectly fine all the year round.
Indult Tihota: Vanilla cake, yes, but vanilla cake from perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, and thus perfect for someone who wants to satisfy their sweet tooth and smell elegant at the same time. Fans were pleased when new owners resurrected the brand from the dead a few years ago, and as an added bonus, better distribution means the fragrance, while expensive, is actually cheaper now than it was when I reviewed it in 2008 ($200 for 50 ml; it used to be $250).
Parfumerie Générale Felanilla: I'll save the grande dame of vanilla orientals, Shalimar, for the winter list, and offer up Felanilla as the easy-going distant cousin. This one is just creamy enough to qualify for one of my favorite fragrance family classifications, spicy wood pudding.
Tauerville Vanilla Flash: This is exactly the sort of fragrance that I forget all about in July and August, and then am happy to rediscover in October. It's a warm, dry, unisex vanilla with rose, tobacco and patchouli, perfect for people who love the smell of vanilla but emphatically don't want to smell like dessert. Bonus: it layers nicely (try it with Rose Flash) and at $63 for 30 ml, it won't drain your savings account right before the holidays.
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon: I've neglected easy-to-find in today's list, so here is one you can try at a brick and mortar store (options include Sephora or Nordstrom), and the 10 ml rollerballs aren't too badly priced at $25 (plus it's also in the Find Your Nirvana coffret, with four 3 ml mini rollerballs). The name appears to refer to Bourbon vanilla, not bourbon whiskey, but there's a little flash of booze in the opening to help fight off the evening chill. Jessica's take: "a sweet yet smoky vanilla, like a well-torched crème brûlée followed by a cigarette or two".
Aftelier Vanilla Smoke: A good strong Lapsang Souchong tea provides the smoke, and a vanilla / amber blend spiced with saffron provides the comfort. Put on some Vanilla Smoke, load the fake fireplace video on your widescreen, and you're all set. It's all natural and it's not cheap, but it is available in a variety of sizes in Eau de Parfum or Parfum.
Do add your own favorites for fall in the comments!