Friday, September 24, 2010

Unicorn Magnum Plus Peppermill

I am taking a brief sojourn into the realm of product reviews. This is not the focus of this site because there are so many other sites that do equipment reviews so well, but there are a few items that I think are extraordinary, and I really want to share them with you.

The first of these is the Unicorn Magnum Plus peppermill made by Tom David, Inc.

Through the years, I have owned a number of peppermills. To me, peppermills are like fountain pens and old kitchen forks: they are both functional and beautiful and they are things to be collected. I can only justify two or, maybe, three peppermills at a given time, but given limitless space and money, I would likely have an extra pantry room devoted to them.

Of the mills that I have owned, some have been beautiful machinations, like the Peugeot mills, and others have been less so. Some have been utter crap too, but those don't warrant a post. Though not the most aesthetically pleasing of mills, the hands down best working one I have ever owned is the Unicorn Magnum Plus. It is a peppermill designed with the professional kitchen in mind, and, startlingly, I have never seen another with that design goal. They make two sizes of Unicorn Magnum – the Magnum Plus is the one that I own, and it is the larger of the two standing at 9". It is made of a very high impact plastic, and it is a polished jet black. My wife thinks it looks like the Darth Vader of peppermills. It is easy to fill, with a sliding ring at the top, and requiring no disassembly. The grind is adjustable, as it is on all good mills, though it comes set a bit fine for my taste. It holds a ton of black peppercorns – probably about ¾ of a cup, keeping most household cooks in pepper for a month or more.

But, the most notable thing about this mill, and the real selling point from my perspective is the throw. The throw is the amount of pepper that a mill grinds per revolution, and the Unicorn Magnum is unparalleled in my experience. It easily throws four to five times more pepper per grind than a typical mill, making seasoning at the stove top quick. I cannot tell you how many times I have had others grab my Unicorn Magnum to season a salad and be totally startled at how much pepper a single grind produced. It is fantastic.

I mentioned that the mill was made out of a very high impact plastic (or polymer, or whatever they call it now), and it is. I have had mine for a decade, and there are a couple of barely noticeable dings on the bottom rim where it hit the floor tiles, but it is otherwise unscathed.

I have read a very few negative reviews of this product anywhere, but among the complaints that I have seen are a) the huge volume of the throw, and b) that the filling hole comes open and dumps pepper when it is being used. In regard to the first complaint, that is something that you get used to and adapt to. Regarding the second, it has been called a design flaw, but I find that to be a bit harsh. I have experienced that, but, again, it is something that I am now aware of and it has not happened again.

There are very few truly wonderful things that you can have in your kitchen, and fewer still for less than $50. The Unicorn Magnum Plus is darned near perfect, and, for that price, it cannot be beat.


  1. Great review of an outstanding product!! I've had my Magnum (along with the matching Salt mill) for many years. It has survived both professional kitchens and my "food lab" here at the house.

  2. I just stumbled across your post, and even though it's a couple of months old, I wanted to throw in my two cents. I also own the Magnum Plus and wouldn't trade it for anything.

    As far as the complaints about the large throw volume, sometimes I just tap the bottom of the mill if I only need a little dash. That has worked fine for me for years. Oh, and I don't put it out at the table precisely for the reason you mentioned. It's easier to grind a little into a shaker for company to use.

    The filling hole was the most annoying problem to me. I finally put a thin strip of black electrical tape across it to hold it and it worked like a charm. Which is nice since I'm still finding random peppercorns from when my roommate spilled it over a year ago!