Investigation of the microbial diversity of Bandji, a traditional palm wine from Burkina Faso (West Africa) revealed the presence of two yeast isolates (YAV16 and YAV17T) with unusual phenotypic and genotypic characteristics. The isolates divide by bipolar budding with no production of ascospores. Phylogenetic analysis of concatenated sequences of the 26S rRNA gene D1/D2 and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions indicated that the novel species was most closely related to Kloeckera lindneri and Hanseniaspora valbyensis. The new isolates differed from K. lindneri NRRL Y-17531T and H. valbyensis CBS 479T by substitutions in the D1/D2 region of 12 and 16 nt respectively. The divergence in the ITS region from the closely related species was characterized by substitutions of 45–46 nt. Repetitive palindromic PCR (rep-PCR) profiles of YAV16 and YAV17T were also significantly different from those of K. lindneri MUCL 31146T ( = NRRL Y-17531T), H. valbyensis NCYC 17T ( = CBS 479T) and other species of the genus Hanseniaspora. Based on the results of the phenotypic and genotypic characterizations, it was concluded that the new isolates represent a novel species for which the name Hanseniaspora jakobsenii sp. nov. is proposed with YAV17T ( = CBS 12942T = DSM 26339T = NCYC 3828T; MycoBank number MB 805785) as the type strain.