Flows of fluids made of complex organic molecules exhibit unconventional fluid dynamic behavior in the vapor phase if their thermodynamic state is close to that of the vapor-liquid critical point. If the molecule is sufficiently complex, this thermodynamic domain is characterized by negative values of the fundamental derivative of gasdynamics Γ, the fluid is called Bethe-Zel'dovich-Thompson (BZT) fluid, and atypical phenomena, such as rarefaction shockwaves, are theoretically admissible. The nature of the steepening of nonlinear waves in dense vapor flows of organic fluids evolving in this thermodynamic region can be significantly affected by the presence of temperature gradients in the flow. This study investigates the evolution of finite-amplitude acoustic waves in these conditions. The steepening of the wavefront is analyzed using the wavefront expansion technique, and the deformation of the wavefront is simulated numerically by solving the Westervelt equation. The results of simulations of wave propagation in dense vapors indicate that, though Γ governs the nature of steepening waves, local gradients in sound speed and density can alter the rate of steepening and can enhance or delay shock formation in the medium, a result relevant also to the envisaged experiments aimed at proving the existence of nonclassical gasdynamics phenomena in BZT vapors.