Looking at the definition for flavor and timbre, both are used to describe the "essential character" of a particular sense.
If flavor is the essential character of our taste sense, and timbre is the essential character of something we hear, does English contain similar words for sight, smell, or touch?
Is there a better answer for touch than "texture"?
I suppose flavor could be used generically for any of them, but I would be most interested in a similar word used specifically for the essential character of something we perceive with our eyes.
EDIT: This isn't quite the same as this question, because I'm interested more in the "essential character" part of the definition that "timbre" implies.
It's almost a specialized domain-word in music, but this "essential" can be characterized as follows:
More than one type of instrument can produce the same pitch. Similarly, many types of instruments can achieve the same dynamics (or loudness). But a violin's timbre is uniquely its own. A flute can never sound like a violin. You will hear musicians use words like bright, penetrating, acerbic, keen, biting, rasping, reedy, powerful, robust, full, or insistent to try to describe a timbre.
Approaching it from another direction, if you've ever seen a recorded sound waveform (with all the wiggly lines):
- Dynamics/loudness are related to the height or magnitude of the wiggly lines. (Any waveform can be stretched vertically to match another's loudness.)
- Pitch/frequency is related to how closely packed the repeating sections of wiggly lines appear. (Any waveform can be played back faster or slower to match the pitch of another.)
- Timbre refers to the actual shape of the repeated sections of wiggly lines. There is no simple transformation that allows you to match those patterns to a different recorded sound.
That last sentence is what I'm looking for with the other senses.
Trying to apply those same rules to vision ("what can or cannot be accomplished via a simple transformation"), the answer is probably "texture" and/or "shape". You can make a rubber ball in any variety of colors, but that ball can never be made to look like a cell phone, owing to texture and shape differences. Their essential characters are different.