For visual impressions, we have a rich vocabulary to describe concepts without using concrete objects:
- Color: blue, red, green, bright, dark. Combinations of those.
- Shapes: Round, pointy, straight, curved, concave, convex, flat, rough, ...
- Textures: Striped, dotted, dashed, ...
For auditory impressions I can also name a few:
- Volume: Loud, silent
- Frequency: low, high
For gustatory sensations I would say concepts are:
The tactile concepts are similar to the visual ones:
- Shapes: See above
Now to my question: Of course, I can say something smells like a flower, like grass, like excrements, like grilling, wet dog, ....
But those are only analogies. And quite vague ones, too. So for example, if I wanted to describe somebody the smell of a specific type of wood, I would have no idea how to do so. Is this only my fault / problem (so: do I simply lack the words, but there are some) or is this a broader phenomenon (and thus could be asked on https://cogsci.stackexchange.com/)?