GELID GC-2 Premium Thermal Compound
Even under the hot lights of my testing box, the GC-2 stands tall with the peak not faltering under the halogen bulbs. The GC-2 is a thicker than usual compound that doesn't do to well under the normal "finger spread method", as it tends to stick more to your finger than the chip of choice you are using it with.
My guess is that the main reason behind GELID sending a plastic spreader is to keep most of the TIM where you want it, versus the end of your finger.
After about eight or nine passes with the spreader, the GC-2 will level out a bit. Just keep leveling it off and you can always scrape excess away if you over apply the first time out. Notice how little of the GC-2 is left behind on the spreader; I wasted a bunch more trying to spread it with my finger.