Many researchers have developed useful lexicons to describe flavor characteristics of different cheeses. The objectives of this study were to determine if the terminology established in previous studies was adequate to evaluate a wide range of European cheeses, and to determine if a simplified “general” lexicon can be developed for the description of cheese. A descriptive panel evaluated the flavor of 65 western European cheeses that varied in region produced, milk source, maturation time and processing method. The panel reviewed previously published cheese attributes, definitions and references prior to beginning the testing. During testing, the panel detected and added new descriptors and eliminated terms which did not appear in any of the cheeses. Data inspection, in addition to factor analysis, suggests that 25 attributes are needed to explain the common flavor characteristics found in cheese. However, 19 additional attributes may be used occasionally to describe targeted specific flavor characteristics.